About Dental Bridges
A dental bridge, also known as a fixed partial denture, is a dental restoration used to replace a missing tooth by joining permanently to adjacent teeth or dental implants.
There are different types of bridges, depending on how they are fabricated and the way they anchor to the adjacent teeth. Conventionally, bridges are made using the indirect method of restoration, however, bridges can be fabricated directly in the mouth using such materials as a composite resin or now can be fabricated with the porcelain (for a natural looking smile).
Dental bridges are fabricated by reducing the teeth on either side of the missing tooth or teeth by a preparation pattern determined by the location of the teeth and by the material from which the bridge is fabricated. In other words, the abutment teeth are reduced in size to accommodate the material to be used to restore the size and shape of the original teeth in a correct alignment and contact with the opposing teeth.
Another type of dental bridge called a cantilever bridge, is used to replace a missing tooth in an area of the mouth that receives less physical stress. For example, a cantilever bridge may be used to replace a missing front tooth. This type of dental bridge is used when just one side of the empty space caused by an absent tooth has remaining healthy teeth. With a cantilever bridge, the dental prosthesis is anchored to one or more natural teeth.
Dental bridges can definitely improve the smile of an individual with a missing tooth. However, dental bridges have more to offer than just aesthetic appeal. They can prevent the surrounding teeth from drifting out of position and fill spaces that would otherwise leave surrounding teeth susceptible to tooth decay. They may even be helpful in lowering susceptibility to gum disease.
The best candidate for a dental bridge is a person with one or more missing teeth and good dental hygiene. An individual with a dental bridge will need to brush and floss daily and limit sugar and starch intake. Hard and sticky snacks should be avoided as well. Dental visits, including professional cleanings, should take place every six months. With proper dental hygiene, a dental bridge can last (on average) from eight to 10 years.
While this is a tried and true method used in dentistry for years and it was the standard of dental care for decades. However, now we also offer a second choice for replacing a missing tooth with dental implants.
This is now the most advanced state of the art technique for tooth replacement. Implants are becoming the new standard due to their high success rate and conservative treatment with no damage to adjacent tooth structures.
Please consider both methods before you decide. We will be happy to help you decide which one is right for you.