Losing a tooth, whether through oral disease or a mere accident, can be an embarrassing situation. More important, though, the loss of a tooth can have consequences on your ability to bite, chew, and speak normally. Among the manifold ways to all but replace a lost tooth is a dental bridge, which, true to its name, is a false tooth that serves as an indistinguishable and functional connection between the teeth remaining on either end of the newly vacated stretch of gum. If you are interested in dental bridges, read on to find out more about the various options that can help to restore your mouth to full health.
Who Is a Good Candidate for a Bridge?
Dental bridges can be used in the mouth as long as the adjacent teeth are strong enough to support the dental bridge. If the adjacent teeth are weak, fractured, or otherwise unable to provide support to a bridge, a dental implant is the state-of-the-art option to replace a single missing tooth, as it does not involve the adjacent teeth.
How Long Do Dental Bridges Last?
A dental bridge placed properly in the mouth can last for one to two decades, if not longer, as long as the patient takes proper care of the teeth. There is a persistent misunderstanding that a dental bridge cannot decay or break down. Proper home care, keeping the adjacent teeth clean, and flossing underneath the bridge are necessary to extend the length of that bridge.
Fixed Dental Bridges
A fixed dental bridge is a bridge that is placed by reducing the adjacent teeth, taking an impression, making a metal framework, and then firing porcelain to the surface to make the porcelain tooth-colored. The dental bridge is then cemented in the mouth and cannot be removed by the patient.
Cantilever Dental Bridges
The difference between a regular fixed bridge and a cantilever bridge is that a cantilever bridge is only attached to one abutment tooth. These bridges are only used in certain limited situations where there cannot be too much stress on the pontic (the false tooth).
The benefit of a resin-bonded bridge is that the teeth adjacent to the missing tooth are not reduced to pegs; there is typically minimal or no reduction necessary. The difference between a resin-bonded and a fixed bridge thus lies in the support of the adjacent teeth.