Most adults experience tooth loss at some point between the ages of 20 and 64, according to the American Dental Association. In fact, the norm includes three missing teeth by retirement age. Dental bridges provide one option for replacing missing teeth. As a patient of Lovett Dental Baytown, maybe a bridge will suit your needs, too.
About Dental Bridges
When you suffer missing teeth, your dentist helps you decide if a bridge will meet your tooth replacement needs. These fixed dental appliances cement onto existing natural teeth or implants, which hold the bridge in place. Your dentist uses the teeth surrounding your gap for this bridge support.
Having a bridge prevents shifting of remaining teeth that otherwise move into the space your missing ones left behind. In turn, a bridge maintains your healthy bite and the appearance of your smile and facial features.
There are four main types of bridges. These include:
Understanding the Four Types of Dental Bridges
Each type of bridge brings its own set of pros and cons. Not all types of dental bridges work in all patients’ situations. So you possibly have only one or two actual choices for completing your smile and bite.
Traditional bridges fit many peoples’ needs. These include one or more fake replacement teeth called pontics. Adjacent support teeth covered with crowns, called abutments, hold these pontics in place. For a traditional bridge to work for you, you must have natural teeth remaining on each side of your gap.
To prepare your support teeth for the crowns, your dentist must remove the enamel. This provides room for the crown to fit. But it also means your crowns must permanently remain on these abutment teeth, since enamel does not grow back.
Cantilever dental bridges use only one natural abutment tooth to support the pontic on one side. This means you can still have a bridge when you only have one tooth adjacent to the missing one needing replacement. This support tooth must undergo enamel removal for its crown, as with traditional bridge abutments.
Cantilever bridges sometimes lead to complications in the supporting tooth. The bridge can work as a lever on the abutment, causing a loose crown or broken tooth. Your dentist will discuss this potential problem with you. They will help you understand whether a cantilever provides your best option for tooth replacement.
Maryland bridges provide an option to traditional ones. But instead of suspending a pontic between two teeth with crowns, this type uses a framework bonded onto the backs of two adjacent support teeth. This also means that your dentist does not need to remove enamel from your support teeth, as they do not require crowns.
The downside of this bridge type is limited strength. Dental resin holds the bridge in place and that resin can break down or fail. Sometimes the framework alters your bite or gum tissue, too.
When you suffer more than one missing tooth, an implant-supported bridge possibly provides your best option. For this type, dental implants provide bridge support instead of using a framework or crowns. Either you need one implant for each missing tooth or two implants with crowns supporting a third suspended pontic between them. The benefits of an implant-supported bridge include a comfortable, secure feeling much like natural teeth.
Tooth Replacement with Dental Bridges
For patients in Baytown, TX and from throughout the Houston area, Lovett Dental provides quality dental services. These services include:
- Tooth replacement and one-day crowns
- Teeth whitening
- Cosmetic dentistry
- General dentistry services
- Metal-free dentistry
Our practice uses the latest technologies and time needed to get things right the first time. If you need tooth replacement with dental bridges or other dentistry, contact Lovett Dental Baytown at 281.346.9510. Schedule your first visit today.