If you’re missing teeth – even if it’s just a single tooth – you should find a suitable replacement as soon as you can. That’s because if you wait and choose to live with one or more missing teeth for a period of time, your other teeth will begin to shift inside your mouth to fill in the space left behind by the missing teeth. That can lead to other problems, such as throwing your bite off and uneven wear of your other teeth. In extreme cases, living with missing teeth can even cause jaw problems and eventually change the shape of your face. Fortunately, there are some excellent ways to replace missing teeth. One of the most popular is the dental bridge. In this article, we explore the different types of dental bridges available in the Austin, Texas area.
Dental Bridges vs. Partial Dentures
Bridges and partial dentures are both appliances that are intended to replace missing teeth. The primary difference between the two is that a bridge is a fixed appliance (not removable by the patient), as opposed to a partial denture, which is removable by the patient. A bridge usually consists of artificial teeth set into a metal frame, and a partial denture typically consists of artificial teeth mounted onto a gum-colored base that fits into the patient’s mouth and is removed each night before going to bed. Although partial dentures are often a good way to replace missing teeth, this article focuses on the other alternative: dental bridges.
Traditional Dental Bridges
Similar to a traditional dental bridge, a Maryland bridge consists of a crown (or prosthetic tooth) mounted into a frame and attached to existing teeth on either side of the gap inside the patient’s mouth. The primary difference is the mounting bracket on each end of the appliance. The Maryland bridge has thinner “wings” on each end that are securely bonded to the back of the abutment teeth, which eliminates the need for removal of the enamel on those teeth. A Maryland bridge may also be referred to as a “resin bonded bridge,” and is generally considered to be a more conservative appliance for replacing missing teeth.
An implant-supported bridge is just like a traditional bridge with one very important difference: rather than being supported on each end by existing teeth covered by crowns, an implant-supported bridge attaches on each end to tiny titanium posts that are embedded in the jaw (also referred to as “implants”). Generally speaking, implant-supported bridges are considered to be extremely comfortable and durable, but the procedure is much more complex than other types of bridges. The first step of the procedure involves the patient undergoing implant surgery, then allowing those implants to bond with the bone tissue – a process that normally takes several months. Although implant-supported bridges are often the preferred way to replace missing teeth, the patient must have an adequate amount of bone tissue present to accommodate the implants.
Replacing missing teeth is vital in order to maintain good oral health. Fortunately, there are several types of dental bridges available to patients in and around the Austin, Texas area. To find out more about the various bridges available, and to determine which choice is right for you, contact your Austin, Texas dentist today and schedule an appointment.