When it comes to restorative dentistry, there's no shortage of options for patients who are grappling with missing teeth. Among these choices, dental bridges stand out as one of the most popular and accessible solutions.
But, like all treatments, dental bridges come with a unique set of benefits and drawbacks. Today, let's take a look at dental bridges to help you determine if they're the right choice for you.
What Are Dental Bridges?
A dental bridge, as the name suggests, bridges the gap created by one or more missing teeth. The bridge is typically comprised of two or more crowns for the teeth on either side of the gap (these two anchoring teeth are known as abutment teeth) and a prosthetic tooth/teeth in between. The false teeth, known as pontics, can be made from a variety of materials, including gold, alloys, porcelain, or a combination of these.
Alternatives to Dental Bridges
When considering dental bridges, it's crucial to also consider the alternatives. Dental implants offer a more permanent solution to missing teeth than bridges. They involve placing a titanium post into the jawbone and affixing a custom-made crown to this post. Implants are often considered the gold standard in tooth replacement, but they can be a more costly option.
On the other end of the spectrum, some patients simply opt not to replace a missing tooth at all. Doing nothing means living with the gap. This might seem like an appealing option for those who are nervous about dental procedures, but it can lead to long-term complications like changes in your bite or jawbone deterioration.
The Pros of Dental Bridges
When compared to implants, dental bridges often come out as the more wallet-friendly option. This is especially true for patients who need to replace several teeth. The cost for a bridge can be substantially less than implants, making them an accessible solution for many patients.
Confidence and Functionality
Missing teeth can significantly impact your confidence, speech, and ability to chew. Dental bridges can restore all these, giving you back your smile and functionality. They closely resemble natural teeth, allowing you to eat, speak, and smile confidently.
Dental bridges usually require only two visits to the dentist and have a shorter recovery time than implants. This makes them a convenient choice for individuals looking for quicker solutions.
The Cons of Dental Bridges
Potential Jawbone Loss
While bridges can replace the missing teeth, they don't replace the roots of the teeth. This means they don't stimulate the jawbone, potentially leading to bone loss over time. This is a key advantage of implants, which do stimulate the bone and can prevent this issue.
Not Quite Permanent
Dental bridges typically last a long time, anywhere from 5 to 15 years, depending on your oral hygiene and care. This means that even with excellent care, you'll likely need to replace them at some point.
While not necessarily a con, it's important to note that dental bridges do require regular cleaning and maintenance, similar to natural teeth and dental implants.
Is a Dental Bridge the Right Choice for You?
The decision about your oral care is a deeply personal one, based on numerous factors such as your oral health, budget, and personal comfort. Weighing the pros and cons of each possibility can help you make an informed decision that will ultimately benefit your oral health and quality of life.
You should always consult with your experienced dental professional to discuss all of the available treatments. Reach out to us today to find out whether dental bridges are the best choice for you and to compare other tooth replacement options.