Unless you’re under the age of ten, nobody likes to lose a tooth. We’re not children and the tooth fairy, unfortunately, isn’t going to come and leave a couple of crisp dollar bills under your pillow. A missing tooth can cramp your style, leaving a gap in between your teeth that can negatively impact your bite, reducing your ability to chew properly. Even worse, a gap from a missed tooth can cause your remaining teeth to shift and tilt and become loose as they try to fill that missing void. For patients who are missing a tooth, and may not be a good candidate for a partial or a dental implant, we here at Ranches Family Dental like to offer dental bridges to help our patients preserve their remaining teeth while improving their smile.
What Do I Need to Know about Dental Bridges?
A missing tooth can cause a host of problems that will need to be immediately addressed to prevent further damage to your remaining teeth. Because your teeth lend support and structure to your face, your cheeks may start to look hollow if you lose a tooth, adding unwanted years to your appearance.
However, missing teeth aren’t just a cosmetic consideration; over time, you may start to lose your other teeth. You may also develop pain, as the other teeth have to work extra hard to make up for the missing one. Your jaw may go out of alignment, and your ability to eat may become impaired.
Not everyone is a good candidate for a dental implant, and another subset simply may be resistant to the idea of a partial removal denture. For these patients, a dental bridge is a fantastic alternative to other options, giving them a chance to both restore their appearance and resolve any issues that could arise from a missing tooth.
Good candidates for dental bridges include:
There are three primary types of bridges we typically choose from when fitting you with your dental bridge. You could choose from a traditional dental bridge, a cantilever bridge, and a Maryland bridge.
Traditional bridges are the most popular kind and are comprised of at least one pontic (false tooth) and are made of either porcelain-fused-to metal or ceramic. They fit right over the existing tooth with a dental crown and are ideal for molars due to their strength.
Cantilever bridges are only supported on one side, so they’re not as strong as traditional bridges. That means that they aren’t recommended for molars, and we’re not using these as often anymore due to how unstable they tend to be.
Maryland bridges are the third type of bridge that we may use in our office. Also known as a resin-bonded bridge, they don’t require a crown to fit. They’re often made out of porcelain or porcelain-fused-to-metal but aren’t very strong and aren’t advised for molars.
Implant-supported bridges are newer but growing in popularity. These are ideal for patients who are missing several teeth. They work by fitting an implant for support for the bridge.
Getting fitted for a bridge may take several appointments to ensure a good fit. They also require maintenance and upkeep, not unlike your existing teeth, and you may also need to buy special flossers to help keep them clean. If properly maintained, though, they should last your entire life.
If you’re missing teeth, and you’re not sure if you’re a good candidate for a dental bridge, a crown, or even a partial, give us a call here at Ranches Family Dental at (385) 374-0500 with any questions you may have or to schedule an exam with a consultation to help determine which procedure is best for you.