If you have lost one or more teeth, dental bridges can be a good replacement option. They are permanently fixed in your mouth and don’t have to be removed for cleaning. They have a very natural appearance and allow you to chew normally. They are almost as good as dental implants for replacing missing teeth, and may even be better in some situations.
Would you like to learn more about dental bridges in St. Louis? Please call (314) 375-5353 (Downtown St. Louis) or (314) 678-7876 (Clayton) today for an appointment with restorative dentist Dr. Chris Hill at our office in downtown or Clayton.
Benefits of Dental Bridges
Dental bridges were for many years considered the best possible tooth replacement option. That’s because bridges:
- Are fully fixed in the mouth
- Allow people to chew normally
- Can be very attractive
- Preserve spacing
- Can protect damaged teeth
- Don’t require surgery
Dental bridges aren’t removable restorations. They stay in your mouth so you never need to worry about them being out of place.
Dental bridges can function just like natural teeth. You don’t have to worry about your ability to chew or speak, or how removing your teeth at meals or overnight could impact your health or comfort.
Dental bridges are made up of dental crowns that are fused together with one or more replacement teeth. They all look like natural teeth–there are no wires or other visible structures to give away that they’re not natural teeth.
Dental bridges preserve the natural spacing of your teeth. They hold the place left by your lost teeth so your remaining teeth don’t drift.
Because dental bridges are supported by dental crowns, they can protect damaged teeth near your lost tooth. If you have damaged teeth on either side of the gap in your smile, a dental bridge is a good way to protect and preserve them.
And, unlike dental implants, dental bridges don’t require surgery to be placed. The procedure is very similar to a normal dental crown.
How Dental Bridges Work
A dental bridge is designed to “bridge” a gap in your teeth. It is supported by dental crowns (typically two), with replacement teeth attached between them. It is designed as a single unit, which can make it very strong with modern materials. The teeth that support the bridge are known as abutments, just like the supports of a bridge, and the replacement teeth are sometimes called “pontic,” from the Greek for sea, and similar to words like “pontoon,” a float.
When a dental bridge is to be used, we will assess the health of the abutment teeth and make sure they are capable of supporting the bridge. Then we will take impressions, prepare the abutment teeth, and take impressions again to make sure the bridge will properly fit in the space.
The impressions are sent to the dental lab where the bridge is made. You will wear a temporary bridge until the permanent is ready. When the permanent bridge is ready, we will check the fit and appearance, then cement it in place.
Limitations of Dental Bridges
Dental bridges are good tooth replacement options, but they have several limitations compared to dental implants. Because dental bridges are supported by your natural teeth, they provide no support of their own and can increase the stress on natural teeth. This can lead to failure of the natural teeth, especially when the bridge is supported by only one tooth.
Because they don’t support themselves, bridges can only be used in limited situations where the stresses aren’t too great.
We prefer not to remove healthy tooth material, so we may not want to use teeth in perfect condition for supporting a bridge. But teeth that are too unhealthy are also not good supports.
Dental bridges don’t stimulate the jawbone, and sometimes the body will remove jawbone. When the jawbone is gone, the gums recede, too, creating a gap under the bridge.
Want to learn more about the benefits and limits of dental bridges in St. Louis? Please call (314) 375-5353 (Downtown St. Louis) or (314) 678-7876 (Clayton) today for an appointment at our office in downtown or Clayton.