Are you experiencing a challenge with your smile? Maybe you have lost one or several teeth due to decay or an accident. Maybe you are feeling self-conscious about the appearance of your smile after losing teeth. Or maybe you are struggling to chew and talk properly after losing some teeth. Whatever your issue is, we assure you that we have seen it all at Germantown Dental Group. We specialize in caring for your smile and finding solutions to every tooth problem!
When thinking about tooth replacement solutions, you may have heard of dental bridges. They are a common treatment for certain types of tooth loss. If you don’t know much about them, let us spend some time sharing more about them. They aren’t the right dental fit for everyone, but they are a great solution for certain people and smiles! Let’s get into it!
What Is a Dental Bridge?
A dental bridge is made up of crowns that fit over existing teeth with artificial teeth between them to ‘bridge the gap’ of missing teeth. Bridges are often made up of strong porcelain, ceramic, or metal, and they serve as replacement teeth that support essential functions like chewing and talking, as well as improving appearance.
Bridges are a permanent fixture in the mouth, meaning they can only be inserted or removed by a dentist. They don’t typically last forever but can sometimes function for five to 15 years or even longer when cared for properly. Because the crowns on either side of the bridge fit over your natural teeth, a bridge cannot be removed without it being replaced since those teeth are no longer able to function without the crowns.
What Types of Bridges Are There?
Traditional Dental Bridge
A traditional bridge is exactly as we described above, with two crowns and an artificial tooth filling the gap for one or more missing teeth. Traditional bridges can only be used when the natural teeth on each side of the gap are healthy since the crowns over those teeth will support the bridge.
Cantilever Dental Bridge
This is when only one crown is placed on one side of a missing tooth gap. These are usually used when both teeth on either side are not healthy enough to have a crown placed over them. Because of their one-sided support, they are less secure than other bridges.
Maryland Dental Bridge
A Maryland dental bridge is bonded using metal wings that are secured to the back of the neighboring teeth rather than crowns. These bridges are most often used for missing front teeth since they aren’t strong enough for intensive chewing like what molars are used for.
An implant-supported bridge is built on implants that are surgically anchored into the jawbone. Rather than bridging with crowns, these implanted teeth are very secure and offer some of the most long-lasting results.
Who Is a Good Candidate for a Bridge?
Now that you know all about what bridges are, you may wonder if you or someone you know might be a good candidate for a bridge. Let’s talk through some examples:
1. If You Are Missing Between 1-3 Teeth In a Row
Bridges are all about filling gaps, not replacing entire rows of teeth. If you are missing more than three teeth, the chances are good that a partial denture or full set of dentures will work better for your smile. If you are missing several teeth but not in a row, then Dr. Whittemore or Dr. Gruen may choose to put in more than one bridge or opt for a single implant. Each case is unique, so be sure to schedule an appointment to discuss it with the doctors and find out your options!
2. If You Have Other Healthy Teeth
The strength of a bridge is based on the healthy teeth that surround it to serve as anchors for your crowns. If you have a gap of missing teeth, but the surrounding teeth are not sound, then a bridge likely won’t be a good fit for you.
3. If You Are Ready to Care For Your Bridge
Bridges are permanent fixtures that only your dentist can install or remove, but they aren’t meant to last forever. They will need to be replaced eventually, though you can certainly extend the life of your bridge by taking great care of it. Brush it along with your regular teeth, and floss underneath it daily to clean out any trapped plaque or food particles. Be cautious about chewing really crunchy or sticky foods with your bridge, and it should serve you for many years to come!
We Are Here to Care For Your Smile!
The best news about getting a bridge installed is working with our amazing team at Germantown Dental Group! Our doctors and staff all have many years of experience working with patients just like you, and they love seeing the results of their stunning new smiles! Don’t hesitate to give us a call and schedule your own consultation appointment with us soon!