You should never leave a missing tooth or two untreated and unchecked. The gaps left behind by missing teeth can cause the remaining teeth to shift into the empty spaces, causing malocclusions or a bad bite. Additionally, the gaps can also cause speech and chewing complications, as well as increase your risk of gum disease and temporomandibular joint disorders (TMJ).
A dental bridge, sometimes referred to as fixed removal dentures, is an oral appliance that can help solve all your problems regarding your missing teeth.
How Do Dental Bridges Work?
Dental bridges, as the name suggests, bridge the space left behind by the missing teeth. They are cemented to the natural teeth and/or implants, which are now referred to as abutments, surrounding the gap. Afterward, the pontic, or the replacement tooth, is attached to the crowns that are used to cover and strengthen the anchors or abutments.
Dental bridges are available in a wide variety of materials. Your dentist can help you decide which material suits your budget and particular case best.
Are They Better Than Dentures?
While they’re not necessarily better than dentures, dental bridges offer quite a few significant advantages over them, including:
- Because dental bridges are fixed permanently into your mouth, you don’t have to worry about your prosthetic teeth falling out accidentally. And, since they won’t move around inside your mouth, they’re just much more comfortable to “wear”. Patients also often report being able to adjust almost immediately as soon as the bridges are placed inside their mouth.
- The process of creating and inserting dental bridges is rather simple and will rarely take longer than two appointments.
- Because they don’t take too long to place, dental bridges can help prevent further problems caused by tooth loss. Meaning that you no longer have to worry about your teeth shifting around your mouth and moving out of alignment. More importantly, bridges make sure that your jawbone is kept intact and protected from atrophy as soon as possible.
- Dental bridges can last for as long as ten years, if not longer. During that time, the dental bridge will look and feel just like your real teeth. They’ll help you chew your food properly and speak without any problems. Also, being able to smile freely can do wonders for your self-esteem and self-confidence.
Proper Care and Maintenance
While bridges and crowns can last for a very long time, that’s not to say they won’t fall out or become loose. However, such problems usually happen only if you have poor oral hygiene and neglect your oral health.
As such, the most important step you can take to make sure that your bridge lasts for as long as it’s intended is to take good care of your teeth and gums. This includes brushing twice a day and flossing daily. Of course, you shouldn’t forget to see your dentist regularly for dental checkups and professional cleanings as well. Also, even though they’re quite durable, bridges can be damaged if you frequently chew on hard foods such as ice, fingernails and other hard objects.