Learn About Dental Bridges
It’s not uncommon to lose one or more teeth, whether it is due to injury, accident, disease, or even following an extraction at the dental office. Once a tooth is lost, and irrespective of the cause, it is important to get a replacement tooth so that adjacent teeth don’t shift into the space left.
Dental bridges are a popular solution to missing teeth, since they achieve two purposes: they are a cosmetic procedure that improves the appearance of your smile, and they are also functional because they prevent teeth from shifting.
Among their benefits, there are few complications and long durability, as a bridge can last for many years with proper care and following instructions that you will be given after the procedure.
There are several types of dental bridges:
Conventional or standard fixed bridges (sometimes referred to as cantilever bridges), where the teeth next to the gap left by a missing tooth are prepared to support a crown. These crowns, along with the replacement tooth, form the dental bridge.
As mentioned above, the crown is long-lasting, relatively straightforward, and the final result looks and functions like your natural teeth. The only downside is that having a fixed bridge involves drilling into healthy tooth tissue during the preparation stage.
Removable bridges may be an option in some cases, although generally speaking they are considered slightly inferior to standard fixed dentures.
The reason for this is that people who use removable bridges tend to end up with plaque buildup in the teeth surrounding the bridge. Of course, plaque buildup can be prevented and removed, but this type of dental bridges entail extra care.
“Maryland” adhesive bridge
Then we have Maryland dental bridges, which are also known as adhesive bridges. As its name suggests, an adhesive bridge consists of a replacement tooth that is attached or “stuck” to teeth surrounding the gap.
While the mechanism is the same as with a fixed bridge, a Maryland bridge does not require drilling or cutting into the surrounding teeth, so the procedure is not as invasive.
One of the advantages of this type of dental bridge is they tend to be less expensive than fixed bridges. However, cost should not be the primary consideration when choosing a dental procedure.
Always discuss all your options with your dentist and make sure you ask about their pros, cons, and how suitable they are to your specific situation.
Dental implants and dentures
Last but not least, it is also important to know that a dental bridge is not the only treatment option to address missing teeth. There are other alternatives that include dental implants and dentures.
Dental implants are replacement teeth that are securely implanted into your jawbone; they look and function just like a natural tooth. Dentures may be full or partial, depending on your situation.
Your dentist can help you decide which treatment option is best for you. In most cases, it is important to replace the missing tooth -- or you risk the neighboring teeth shifting and becoming crooked, leading to dental complications. Never ignore a missing tooth.