Dental Tips Blog


What Is a Dental Bridge?

If you are missing one or more teeth, your dentist may recommend replacing your missing teeth using a dental bridge.  There are advantages and disadvantages to dental bridges so consider your options carefully before committing.

A dental bridge is used to replace one or several missing teeth.  The two basic types are a permanent or fixed bridge and a removable bridge.  Both types of bridges rely on the support of adjacent healthy natural teeth.  As the name suggests, a removable bridge can be removed and should occasionally be removed for cleaning.  A removable bridge (sometimes called a partial denture) uses a plastic base and wires to attach to your natural teeth and hold the prosthetic tooth in place.

A permanent bridge is bonded to the two teeth adjacent to the missing teeth.  The prosthetic tooth is suspended between two crowns.  These crowns are permanently bonded to the teeth on either side of the missing tooth.

Dental bridges are a good alternative to replace missing teeth for several reasons.  When you have a missing tooth, your remaining teeth will slowly shift into the area of the missing tooth causing bite issues and other dental complications.  A dental bridge prevents the shift from occurring and maintains your tooth alignment. Dental bridges are relatively inexpensive and the entire process of placing a dental bridge can be completed in a few weeks.

However, a bridge can lead to loss of bone in the jaw.  Bone growth is stimulated by the natural pressure on the teeth from chewing.  That stimulation does not happen when a missing tooth is replaced by a bridge and the jaw bone in the area of the missing tooth can shrink.  This problem can be avoided by using a dental implant instead of a bridge.

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