Missing teeth can affect your life in several ways; it can dramatically impact the way you chew, speak, and interact with others. Missing teeth can also drastically diminish your self-confidence and comfortability, leaving you with feelings of embarrassment about your smile. If you have missing teeth, your dentist can close the gap with a dental bridge. A dental bridge is a false tooth, also called a pontic, secured by abutment teeth on either side of the gap. Pontics are typically made of porcelain to blend in with your natural smile.
Types of Dental Bridges
The four main types of dental bridges are traditional, cantilever, Maryland, and implant-supported.
Traditional – A traditional bridge is the most popular type of dental bridge. This type of bridge is used when you have natural teeth on both sides of the missing tooth gap. A traditional bridge contains a false tooth that’s secured by dental crowns. The dental crowns are cemented onto each of the abutment teeth for reinforcement.
Cantilever – For a cantilever dental bridge to work as intended, you only need one natural tooth next to the missing tooth gap. With the cantilever dental bridge, the pontic is secured by a dental crown that’s cemented to only one abutment tooth.
Maryland – Similarly to a traditional bridge, a Maryland bridge uses a natural abutment on each side of the missing tooth gap. A Maryland bridge is usually only used if you have a natural tooth on each side of the gap. It also uses a metal or porcelain framework that’s bonded onto the backs of the abutment teeth.
Implant-supported – An implant-supported bridge uses dental implants for more strength and stability and typically requires two surgical procedures: one to insert the implants into the jawbone and one to place the bridge. An implant-supported bridge replaces your entire tooth, from the root to the crown. When the tooth roots are replaced, the implant communicates with your body to send essential resources to your jaw. Consequently, this protects the jawbone against atrophy.
When Should I Get a Dental Bridge?
Only your dentist can accurately determine whether or not you might need a dental bridge. If you have missing teeth, a dental bridge can restore your teeth’s natural function by replacing the gap created by the missing teeth. Ultimately, a dental bridge can revitalize your smile, facilitate long-term oral health, and boost your confidence. There are numerous benefits to having a dental bridge, such as:
- It restores your smile.
- It improves your ability to chew food.
- It restores your speech and pronunciation.
- It maintains the shape of your face.
- It re-adjusts your bite and redistributes force when you chew.
- It prevents your teeth from shifting.
Depending on proper dental hygiene and oral care, a dental bridge can last between five and fifteen years. If you want to learn more about dental bridges and when you might need one, please call our Jonesboro, AR dental office at (870) 932-9911 to schedule a consultation with Dr. Anthony Bartels. Dr. Bartels will assess the damage and offer the best treatment options for your needs.