What are dental bridges?
Bridges are natural-looking dental appliances that can replace a section of missing teeth. All bridges are custom-made, which makes them barely noticeable. They are a great option to restore the natural contour of teeth or the proper bite relationship between upper and lower teeth. Individuals who need to replace more than one tooth will benefit from a bridge, as compared to alternatives.
There are several types of fixed dental bridges (fixed meaning they cannot be removed), including conventional fixed bridges, cantilever bridges, and resin-bonded bridges. Some bridges are removable and can be cleaned by the wearer; others need to be removed by a dentist.
Benefits of dental bridges:
- Typically covered by insurance
- Non-invasive, does not require bone grafting or surgery
- Lower up-front costs
- Fewer maintenance visits compared to alternatives
Drawbacks to dental bridges:
- Replacement bridges are needed every five to seven years
- Bridges can appear less natural as the wearer ages and natural teeth change
- Surrounding teeth may be more susceptible to cavities and tooth decay
- Poor maintenance can cause damage to surrounding teeth
Porcelain, gold alloys, or combinations of materials are usually used to make bridge appliances. One common alternative to dental bridges is dental implants, which serve the same purpose of filling in missing teeth. These implant bridges are attached to an area below the gum tissue or the bone.
There are many factors that may influence the best option for replacing missing teeth including budget, number of missing teeth, and past dental history. If you are in need of a tooth replacement, talk to your dentist about what options may be best for you.