If you have missing teeth, our team here at Thomas Family Dentistry offers a range of restorative dentistry procedures to restore your smile, including dental bridges. Gaps in your mouth caused by missing teeth are filled using a dental bridge that literally “bridges” the gap. Consisting of two crowned teeth - or dental implants - on either side of the gap, a false tooth (pontic) is held in the missing space. The main types of dental bridge are:
Traditional Dental Bridge
If you still have teeth on either side of the space created by your missing tooth, a traditional dental bridge is used to fill the gap. It is one of the commonest types of bridge, and simply cements crowns onto the teeth each side of the space to hold the pontic in place.
Maryland Dental Bridge
A Maryland dental bridge is comparable to a traditional dental bridge because they are used if you still have natural teeth on either side of the gap. The difference between them is that a Maryland bridge consists of a framework of porcelain or metal bonded to the back of the teeth, rather than using crowns.
Cantilever Dental Bridge
If you have only one natural tooth next to the gap, a cantilever dental bridge is an option. It is held in place by a crown cemented to the natural tooth.
Implant Supported Dental Bridge
If you have several missing teeth in a row, an implant-supported dental bridge can fill the space. Although one dental implant is typically placed for every missing tooth, it is possible to suspend a tooth between two implant-supported crowns.
While the implant-supported bridge is understood to be one of the most durable and secure systems, it does require additional surgery to place the implants into the jawbone. After placement of the implants, there is a waiting period of several months while the bone and implant fuse together in a process called osseointegration. This varies from patient to patient, and our dentist will advise you on precise instructions for your particular circumstances.
Do I Need a Dental Bridge?
If you have missing teeth, it creates changes that may affect you in several different ways. Functionally, missing teeth may be detrimental to your ability to chew food properly, and you may have to re-adjust your bite to compensate. Missing teeth may also affect your pronunciation and the way you talk by impeding the placement of the tongue, which may create a lisp or whistling sound.
Teeth have a habit of moving into spaces, which may have long-term consequences on your dental health. A domino effect is created whereby all the teeth move into newly-created spaces, causing problems with your bite and other dental health issues.
Finally, from a cosmetic point of view, a full set of teeth is essential for your smile. However, teeth are also important for maintaining the shape of your face by providing a supportive structure. Any gaps will allow the face to sink into the spaces, creating lines and wrinkles and altering the shape of the lower part of your face.
For more information about dental bridges, get in touch with us by calling 971-348-4244 and find out how we at Thomas Family Dentistry can help you restore your missing teeth.