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To Bridge or Not to Bridge: A Comprehensive Look at the Pros and Cons of Dental Bridges

tooth bridge

Are you trying to decide if a dental bridge could be the best option for you? A dental bridge is one option for restoring teeth if you still have one missing tooth or teeth that are badly damaged and cannot be repaired. 

Bridges have both advantages and disadvantages when compared to alternative options, such dental implants. But in order to make a decision, you must first comprehend exactly what a dental bridge is and how it functions.

What is Dental Bridge?

what is dental bridge

A dental or tooth bridge is a fake tooth (or several false teeth) that is secured in place with dental implants or with two or more crowns placed on teeth next to the false tooth(s). The bridge is supported by strong and sturdy cement that holds the fake teeth to the crowns and the crowns to the neighboring teeth. They live up to their name as they “bridge” the space between healthy teeth.

Your dentist will conduct an oral examination of the region where the dental bridge is to be installed in order to ascertain whether you are a candidate for one. A dental prosthesis will need to be supported by the anchor teeth, thus it will be necessary to assess their strength. To assess the state of the underlying structures, dental x-rays and/or a CBCT scan may also be required.

Once your dentist has established that you are a suitable candidate for a dental bridge, the following step is to determine which kind of bridge is ideal for you. Dental bridges come in four distinct varieties, each with a range of solutions for every situation. Following are the four varieties of dental bridges:

Traditional Dental Bridge. The most common type of dental bridge is a traditional one, with which you may be familiar. An artificial tooth or teeth are used to bridge the gap after each of the two teeth on each side of it has a dental crown connected to it. One of the main advantages of traditional bridges is that they are sturdy. The two neighboring teeth must be modified, which is one of the disadvantages.

Cantilever Dental Bridge. Because they only use one anchor tooth, cantilever dental bridges differ structurally from traditional bridges. They are less frequently used than other types of bridges, and they usually may only be placed in the front of the mouth. Cantilever bridges are not advised for the back of the mouth because they may place excessive stress on a single tooth. A cantilever bridge can be strategically positioned to save time and money. However, only a few circumstances allow for the secure construction of this form of bridge.

Maryland Bonded Bridge. A Maryland bonded bridge has the same basic design as a conventional dental bridge but employs a metal or porcelain framework as an anchor instead of dental crowns. With this framework, there is no need to alter the nearby teeth; it is simply attached to the rear. In essence, Maryland bonded bridges offer a sensible and more cost-effective replacement for conventional bridges. Metal frameworks can discolor teeth, and the strength of the bond depends on the tensile strength of the adhesive.

Implant Supported Bridge. Dental bridges that are supported by dental implants have a similar construction to conventional bridges but are fixed in place differently. As a result, implant-supported bridges may be utilized to fill vast gaps with several missing teeth since they don’t need to be placed next to any teeth. Dental implants are renowned for their resilience, tenacity, and capacity to reestablish normal function. However, this kind of dental bridge necessitates a more intrusive implantation process and a healing period.

Advantages of Dental Bridges

advantages of dental bridge

Here are the primary advantages of choosing a dental bridge over some other options now that you are aware of how they function and the various varieties.

  • A dental bridge is less expensive than a dental implant since it doesn’t require as much accuracy or intrusive placement. One of the main reasons some patients choose bridges to implants is cost.
  • Bridges are more quickly installed than implants, in part because no bone grafting is required. It takes less time to secure the bridge with a few implants rather than acquiring more.
  • If the patient has enough good teeth left, dentists frequently advise bridges rather than dentures. Bridges can be supported by healthy teeth as opposed to dentures, which must be fastened to the gums with a temporary sealant that is less reliable.
  • The jaw bone that formerly kept a tooth in place may have deteriorated or resorbed if it has been gone for a while. By inserting an artificial or animal bone fragment under the gums, bone grafting is a surgical operation intended to strengthen the jaw bone. Only implants require it; bridges do not.
  • It may also improve your ability to chew food properly and speak clearly, stop your remaining teeth from shifting and creating problems with your bite, lower your risk of bone loss and preserve the structures of your face, and prevent bridges from moving around like dentures because they are fixed in place permanently.

Disadvantages of Dental Bridges

disadvantages of dental bridgeWhen compared to other tooth replacement solutions, bridges have a few drawbacks as well.

  • The treatment can take a few months to complete since the implants must be put first, especially if bone grafting is necessary to strengthen the jaw bone before implant placement. Even though the cost of the two implants on either side of the bridge increases the overall cost, this still works out to be less expensive than obtaining all implants.
  • Maryland bridges can permanently harm healthy teeth since they require attaching metal to the back of the teeth. Additionally, compared to other bridge designs, these bridges are less resistant to biting pressure.
  • The jaw bone that formerly supported a tooth in place starts to resorb or disintegrate after a tooth is lost or pulled. In contrast to implants, which have an artificial root inserted into the jaw bone, bridges sit above the gum line and have no roots. Bridges thus do not prevent bone loss the way implants do.
  • When the healthy teeth on each side of the bridge are filed down and covered, some healthy tooth enamel will be lost. This increases the risk of irreparably harming teeth that are already healthy.
  • Unlike implants, which are meant to last a lifetime, bridges are not. Bridges may not always be able to stay in place permanently due to the harm they eventually bring to the anchor teeth.
  • Deterioration of the tooth beneath the crown may result from a poorly fitted bridge.

Knowing the benefits and drawbacks of dental bridges can help you decide whether to use them to replace lost teeth or look at other possibilities. You should talk to your dentist about this so that they can answer any additional questions you may have about dental bridges. 

Get in contact with Boca Dental and Braces right now if you’re ready to replace your lost teeth and improve your smile. Our welcoming dentists can help you get started by going over your options with you.

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