Having a complete, natural-looking smile contributes to healthy self-esteem and is essential to your comfort and confidence while performing everyday tasks like eating, speaking, and smiling. At Oak Bay Dental Clinic, if you are missing one or more teeth, Victoria, BC dentist Dr. Adam Pite may recommend a dental bridge or tooth bridge as an esthetic solution. This solution also keeps the empty space left by missing teeth from causing the surrounding healthy teeth to shift and move into the existing gap.
A bridge is a prosthesis (replacement part) that relies on support from healthy teeth surrounding the gap left by a missing tooth or teeth. The artificial replacement tooth is called a “pontic” after the French “pont” for bridge. The healthy adjacent teeth, called abutments, provide support on either side — just like a bridge spanning a canyon.
What Is a Dental Bridge?
There are two main types of bridges: fixed and removable. Recognizing the differences between the two will help you understand Dr. Adam Pite’s recommendations and decide which will work best for you.
Fixed Bridge: Dr. Adam Pite typically recommends a fixed bridge for patients who have lost one or all of their teeth but have not suffered significant bone loss. A fixed dental bridge is made up of two or more crowns that are cemented to the teeth on either side of the gap (the anchor teeth), with false teeth in between. The replacement teeth can be made out of gold, porcelain, or alloys. A fixed tooth bridge can only be removed by a dentist.
Removable Bridge: Dr. Pite will recommend a removable dental bridge when multiple teeth are missing and the integrity of the supporting jawbone has been severely compromised. A removable bridge consists of replacement teeth attached to a gum-colored plastic support base that is connected with a metal framework. The bridge is then attached with metal clasps to existing teeth or implants. The plastic base restores the natural facial esthetics by providing support where the missing bone and tissues once were.
Benefits of a Dental Bridge
A dental bridge offers the following benefits:
- Prevents remaining teeth from moving out of place
- Allows you to eat, speak, and smile naturally
- Maintains proper bite alignment and even bite-force distribution
- Maintains the esthetic integrity of the shape
- Restores natural function, look, and beauty to your smile
- The dentist is not required to prepare teeth to the site that may be completely sound.
- Implants preserve the bone where the tooth was; otherwise the bone may shrink away, affecting adjacent teeth.
- Bridges put adjacent teeth at risk by requiring more chewing support than the roots were originally intended for.
- An implant is much easier to floss and clean around. A bridge requires more challenging oral hygiene care.
- Implants are expected to last for a much longer duration.