According to the American Dental Association, most adults between the ages of 20 and 64 have at least three decayed or missing teeth. If you happen to be one of them, don’t despair. There are several options for replacing your missing teeth and restoring your smile – not the least of which includes dental bridges.
Consider these four types of dental bridges:
Conventional Dental Bridge – This is the most popular option, consisting of one or more artificial teeth (pontics) held in place by a dental crown. The crown, also known as an abutment, is cemented onto the tooth that is adjacent to your missing tooth.
The advantage of a traditional bridge is that it can be used alongside your natural teeth to fill the gap created by your missing tooth – even when replacing molars. The disadvantage is that adjacent teeth must have their enamel permanently removed to leave enough space for the crowns to be cemented on top. Therefore, these teeth will always need to be protected with crowns.
Cantilever Bridge – This type of bridge is similar to a traditional bridge, but the pontic, or fake tooth, is supported by an abutment on just one side. That way, even though there’s only one natural tooth next to the gap, the bridge can still be secured. However, as with a traditional bridge, your dentist must remove the enamel on the adjacent tooth to support the bridge. This can lead to complications such as loosened crowns or fractured teeth.
Maryland Bridge – This alternative to a traditional bridge consists of a pontic held in place by a metal or porcelain framework which is bonded onto the backs of the two teeth adjacent to the missing tooth. That way, the adjacent teeth don’t need to be filed down to accommodate a crown. Of course, the downside of this kind of bridge is that its strength is limited by the resilience of the resin that is holding it in place. Not only may it not stay in place where the teeth are subject to a great deal of biting force, but the framework of the bridge might also interfere with your gums or your bite.
Implant-Supported Bridge – This type of bridge can be used when you have more than one missing tooth. Rather than relying on crowns or frameworks for support, the bridge is supported by dental implants placed for every missing tooth with the series of implants holding the bridge in place. Or, if placing an implant for each lost tooth isn’t possible, the bridge can consist of a pontic suspended between two-implant supported crowns. One advantage of an implant-supported bridge is that it feels as secure and comfortable as natural teeth. The only downside is that two surgeries are required to place the implants. The first procedure involves placing the implants and the second involves placing the bridge. As such, it may take several months until you have your finished bridge.
Your dentist can advise you on the best solution for missing teeth, including the type of dental bridge that’s right for you. Dr. Ernie Soto of Broward County, Florida, specializes in cosmetic and implant dentistry. Contact his office today for comprehensive dental care by calling (954) 368-6264 or fill out our online consultation request form to schedule an appointment. We provide a full range of dental services to help you maintain your best possible smile.