A dental bridge is an artificial tooth structure that replaces a missing or damaged tooth. A bridge can replace one or a few teeth in a row. It is always in the best interest of your dental health to replace teeth that are missing or are beyond the possibility of restoration.
If you’re considering a dental bridge, you may be wondering how a bridge works and what it looks like. Here’s an overview of this tooth replacement option.
How Does a Dental Bridge Work?
A dental bridge is an artificial tooth suspended between two crowns. The crowns fit over the existing teeth on either side of the missing tooth. The existing teeth act as anchors to hold the bridge in place.
For a traditional bridge to work, the teeth on either side of the tooth being replaced must have healthy roots that are strong enough to support the bridge. The anchor teeth must be reduced in size by removing some of the enamel. The crowns then fit over the existing teeth and are permanently attached using dental cement.
What is an Implant Supported Bridge?
Another option for replacing multiple teeth is an implant supported bridge. Instead of using natural teeth as anchors, an implant supported bridge uses dental implants on either side of the missing tooth. The bridge attaches to the implants instead of your existing teeth. This is often a better option if the teeth on either side of the gap are healthy, because those teeth can remain intact. An implant supported bridge is also helpful if three or more teeth need to be replaced. A longer bridge may place too much stress on the natural teeth.
What Does a Dental Bridge Look Like?
Advancements in technology make it possible to create dental prosthetics that look very natural. A dental bridge looks like a row of teeth; they just happen to be attached in one piece. It is typically made of porcelain because it is strong and resembles natural tooth enamel. Some bridges are made of porcelain fused to metal to increase the strength, especially for longer bridges.
Once it is attached, the bridge sits against the gums and looks similar to your existing teeth. The color can be matched very closely to your teeth for a natural appearance. A quality bridge is virtually unnoticeable to anyone who is unaware.
Benefits of Bridges
There are many benefits to replacing one or more teeth with a dental bridge.
- Affordable. When compared to a dental implant, a bridge is a less expensive option for tooth replacement. Insurance typically covers bridges, but not implants.
- Convenient. A bridge doesn’t require any preparatory procedures (other than tooth extraction if needed). However, a dental implant may require a bone graft first to prepare the jaw in some cases where the bone has weakened.
- Fast. A dental bridge can typically be placed in just one or two appointments. There’s no waiting period like there is for an implant to allow the bone fuse, which can take weeks or even months.
- Promotes better dental health. A dental bridge prevents your other teeth from shifting out of place and into the gap where a tooth or multiple teeth are missing.
Carmel Dental Associates Provides a Range of Tooth Replacement Options
If you’re missing one or more teeth or if you have a tooth that can’t be restored with traditional methods like fillings or a crown, there are a few options for replacement. Dental bridges and dental implants can both be appropriate options. If the majority of your teeth need to be replaced, a partial or full denture may be the best solution. The right type of treatment depends on each individual patient’s needs. At Carmel Dental Associates we provide bridges, implants, dentures, or any combination of these tooth replacement options in order to serve our patients as effectively as possible.