Bridge is a fixed restoration that attaches to two or more teeth and closes gaps created by missing teeth. Think of a bridge as several crowns connected to one another. The teeth used as anchors for the bridge are known as abutments. The missing teeth are known as pontics. Bridge is one of few ways to close large gaps in your mouth. The other methods to replace your missing teeth and dentures and dental implants.
What are the benefits of having a bridge?
Leaving gaps in your mouth is never a good idea. Neglecting to replace your missing teeth can have some serious consequences. By placing a bridge you can restore your bite, protect your remaining teeth, and improve your speech and appearance. Let;s take a look at some of the benefits of placing a bridge in your mouth:
Stabilize your bite
Losing a tooth leaves a large gap in your mouth. Failing to replace this missing tooth causes your remaining teeth to slowly drift into this space. The teeth in front, behind, and opposing the missing tooth, all start moving into this gap. This undesirable shifting of your teeth messes up your bite relationship. Having a poor bite causes your teeth fracture, restoration failure, headaches, and issues. Placing a bridge stabilizes your bite and prevents your remaining teeth from shifting.
Protect your teeth and gums
Having a missing tooth in your mouth also makes it harder to clean your teeth. Cleaning teeth adjacent to a gap is very challenging. You’re very likely to develop cavities on these teeth as a result. Having a gap in your mouth also increases the likelihood of developing gum disease. Placing a bridge protects your adjacent teeth to prevent them from developing cavities or gum disease.
Prevent tooth fracture
You may think to yourself that losing one tooth is not that big of a deal. We have so many adult teeth, so how important could losing one tooth really be? The problem is that every time you lose a tooth, you place more stress on your remaining teeth. This added stress can damage your remaining teeth. The more teeth you lose, the more stress is exerted onto your remaining teeth. In fact, if you lose enough teeth, this creates an avalanche effect which can cause you to lose all of your teeth! By placing a bridge you relieve this added stress and redistribute your bite forces to better protect your remaining teeth.
Are bridges a better option than dentures?
It’s usually better to go with a bridge over a denture when given the choice. Here are a few reasons why bridges are typically preferred over dentures:
- Bridges are fixed in your mouth which makes them very comfortable. Dentures, on the other hand, go in and out of your mouth. This makes it much more difficult to wear dentures as they oftentimes cause pain and discomfort in your mouth.
- Bridges offer excellent chewing capacity, nearly the same as your own teeth. In contrast, dentures only give you about 30 to 40% of your original chewing capacity.
- Having a bridge in your mouth feels like your own teeth. Dentures are bulky and many find that wearing false teeth can be awkward and uncomfortable.
If you’re missing just one or two teeth then it’s definitely better to receive a bridge instead of dentures. On the other hand, if you’re missing most of your teeth, then you’re not very likely to be a candidate for dental bridges. In these cases, you have to go with either a denture or dental implants.
Are bridges a better option than dental implants?
It’s usually better to go with a dental implant instead of a bridge. Here are a few reasons why dental implants are typically preferred over bridges:
- Placing dental implants won’t harm your adjacent teeth. To place a bridge, your dentist needs to shave down a few teeth. Shaving these teeth can lead to problems such as sensitivity, pain, or even infection.
- Dental implants are very easy to clean and maintain. On the other hand, cleaning the gap underneath a bridge can be quite challenging. You usually require special instruments to clean these gaps. Occasionally, these areas become a constant food trap and you simply can’t keep them clean.
Many times, placing a bridge is not even possible and dental implants are your only option. In order to place a bridge, you need to have at least one healthy tooth on each side of the missing gap. When you’re missing a terminal tooth, or multiple teeth, then placing a bridge is usually not feasible.
When is placing a bridge a better option than dental implants?
There are some cases where it makes more sense to place a bridge instead of a dental implant. Here are some examples of cases where a bridge is more practical and preferable to dental implants:
Full mouth rehabilitation
Full mouth rehabilitation is when your dentist places crowns on numerous teeth to restore your bite. Bridges are commonly used during full mouth rehabilitation. If your plan is to place crowns on teeth adjacent to a gap, then it makes sense to make a bridge instead of placing dental implants. After all, the whole point of avoiding a bridge is not to shave adjacent teeth. However, if these teeth are already in need of a crown, then why not just convert them into a bridge? This saves you plenty of time and money without having any adverse effect on your other teeth.
Sometimes there simply is not enough bone to place a dental implant. You need to perform extensive bone grafting to restore your jawbone before placing a dental implant. However, not everyone wants to do this. Many people prefer to place a bridge instead of going through multiple surgeries in anticipation of dental implants. Plus, you could have your bridge completed in a few weeks whereas the dental implant process typically takes several months, sometimes even years, to complete.
Closing very small gaps
Bridges can be used to close both small and large gaps. Dental implants, on the other hand, can not close very small spaces. You need a minimum of 6 to 7 millimeters of jawbone to successfully place a dental implant. If there isn’t enough space to place a dental implant, then a bridge might be the better option. Your other option would be to wear braces or clear aligners and open up the gap before placing dental implants. Again, not everyone wants to go through this much trouble just to close a small gap. By placing a bridge you can close these small gaps without the need for braces, bone grafting, and dental implants.
Finding a dentist for bridge treatment
If you’re missing a tooth, then you need to find a way to close this gap. You have 3 options: a bridge, denture, or a dental implant. Talk to your dentist to decide which is the best treatment option for you. Be sure to discuss the pros and cons of each treatment so you can make an informed decision. You can use our dentist Search Engine to find a dentist if you currently don’t have one. Browse through dentist profiles, view treatment photos, read reviews, even book your appointment conveniently online. Don’t forget, missing teeth never fix themselves! The sooner you see a dentist to address your problem, the fewer complications will result from your missing tooth.