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If you're missing one or more of your teeth, you aren’t alone. Tooth loss is exceptionally common, with most people losing an average of five of their natural teeth by the time they are in their fifties. In addition to being embarrassing, tooth loss can also make it hard to talk, eat, and even get close to new people—all factors that can significantly impact your life.
Dental bridges are spans of false teeth that are anchored to existing teeth or dental implants to restore the look and function of your smile. These false teeth “bridge” the gap that missing teeth create. Here are the four main types of dental bridges, and how your Ballwin dentist will choose the version that is best for you.
A bridge fills the gap left by one or more missing teeth. Contact us to see if which type of bridge might suit your needs.
Traditional dental bridges are the most popular style of dental bridge, and they are held in place by dental crowns placed on either side of the missing tooth or teeth. Traditional dental bridges are preferred by most people because they are strong, stable, and fixed in place. Traditional bridges can have one or more false teeth, also called pontics, supported by the neighboring teeth. Fixed traditional dental bridges are a beautiful, stable repair for missing teeth, but can put some strain on the supporting teeth.
Sometimes, patients don’t have two healthy teeth placed properly to support a bridge. When this is the case, a cantilever bridge can be used, which is when a single tooth supports the bridge. Cantilever bridges are less stable than traditional bridges, and they aren’t recommended for the back teeth that experience more bite force.
If you are missing several teeth, but have a few healthy teeth that can be used as supports, Maryland bonded bridges might be recommended. These special bridges are made of plastic, porcelain fused to metal, or resin, and they are held in place by a metal framework. Wings stemming from the bridge are attached to supportive teeth to hold the bridge in place. Although these bridges are typically less expensive than traditional bridges, they are less realistic looking and can once again put strain on the supporting teeth.
If you are looking for the gold standard of bridgework, consider implant supported bridges, which are held in place by one or more dental implants. Dental implants are rooted directly into your natural jawbone, where they fuse with your bone and provide a tremendous amount of support. Implant supported bridges also recreate the natural stimulation your own tooth roots would provide to your jaw tissue, keeping the area strong and healthy.
If you are hesitant about getting a dental bridge, you shouldn’t be. Dental bridges can be used to:
Before you're fitted for a dental bridge, Dr. Postol will conduct a careful exam to determine which style of bridge best suits your anatomy, your oral health, and your budget. After you decide which dental bridge is right for you, Dr. Postol will talk with you about your personal dental restoration timeline. Usually, placing dental bridges requires at least two visits, and may require healing time if dental implants are placed. If you opt for implant supported dentures, but you have lost a significant amount of bone over the years, you may require bone grafting prior to bridge placement to keep the restoration strong and stable.
If you are interested in learning more about dental bridges, schedule an appointment with Dr. Postol today!