Losing a tooth can be terrifying; you may wonder if you're going to have a permanent, unsightly gap in your smile, and how it may impair your quality of life. Over time, if left untreated, your bite may change, and your ability to eat and chew may be diminished. Teeth can begin to drift into the empty space, becoming lopsided or even loose, and fall out.
Not everyone is a good candidate for a partial or a dental implant, which is why dental bridges are a viable option for patients who have a missing tooth. Here at Wendy Sanger DMD Cosmetic + Family Dentistry, we take pride in ensuring our patients make informed decisions to aid in both their comfort and the longevity of their remaining teeth.
The Three Types of Dental Bridges and Their Benefits
Having a missing tooth isn't just a cosmetic problem. While yes, a missing tooth can cause your cheeks to appear sunken and hollow and lead to a prematurely aged appearance, your teeth are so much more important than just aesthetics. A missing tooth puts unwanted stress on surrounding teeth, causing pain in your teeth and jaw.
This is where a bridge comes in: for patients who may not want a removable partial denture or would not benefit from a dental implant, a bridge is a fantastic option for restoring both your oral health and your confidence.
The three main types of dental bridges that we offer include:
||Traditional dental bridge: These are the most popular type of dental bridge. Consisting of at least one or more pontic (fake tooth), they are installed over existing teeth with a crown. These are generally made out of ceramic or porcelain-fused-to-metal. They are quite strong and reliable and a good option for chewing teeth such as molars.
||Cantilever bridge: While not recommended for back teeth, cantilever bridges are only supported on one side (versus traditional bridges, which are on both sides of the gap). These are becoming less common due to how unreliable they can be.
||Maryland bridge: Also known as a resin-bonded bridge, Maryland bridges do not rely upon a crown for structure. Made out of porcelain-fused-to-metal or just porcelain, these are bonded to the backs of the natural teeth around the gap. They are not advised on molars due to their limited strength.
Implant-supported bridges are also growing in popularity and are a great choice for patients who have multiple missing teeth. It relies upon installing an implant to offer support for the bridge. These can be a good option for patients who have multiple missing teeth but aren't ready or willing to commit to a full mouth of dental implants.
Getting a dental bridge is a multi-step process and requires several appointments to ensure a proper fit of the bridge. It's extremely important to take good care of your bridge, as they may fail if you don't exercise good oral hygiene. You may have to buy special flossers to clean between the bridge and the gumline, but taking care of your bridge will help you maintain it for the lifetime of your smile.
If you have missing teeth, or you simply have questions about dental bridges, please do not hesitate to give us a call here at Wendy Sanger DMD Cosmetic + Family Dentistry at (908) 647-4441. We are more than happy to answer any questions you may have and help you schedule a consultation to determine if a dental bridge will benefit you.