Losing teeth as the result of decay, disease, or damage isn’t uncommon. The mouth of the average adult contains three or more decayed or missing teeth.
However, living with gaps from missing teeth can affect your quality of life. Without a full set of teeth, it can be a challenge to speak and chew normally because your mouth depends on all your teeth working together to function well. In social situations, having gaps along your gumline can make you feel embarrassed to smile or speak to others.
Fortunately, dental bridges provide a simple and effective solution for repairing the gaps left from missing teeth. With three types of dental bridges available, factors such as your overall oral condition, medical history, lifestyle, and personal preferences can determine which one of these artificial tooth replacements can serve you best.
The best way to discover your options for artificial tooth replacement is to consult with a dental professional. Our dentists at Rifkin Dental in Yorktown Heights and Carmel, New York, are specialists in the use of dental bridges and other types of tooth replacement. Our caring team provides the expertise and professional support you need to achieve a natural-looking replacement for your missing teeth.
If our team determines that a dental bridge can resolve your problems, we’ll guide you in choosing the style most appropriate for your condition. Read on to find out more about the different types of bridges.
A dental bridge closes, or “bridges,” the space that results between two remaining teeth when the tooth between them is lost. One or more custom-made artificial teeth, called pontics, are used to fill the gap, depending on how many natural teeth were lost.
A traditional dental bridge, called a fixed bridge, is fastened to the intact teeth on either side of the gap. These teeth, called abutment teeth, work as anchors for the artificial teeth. A crown or “cap” is usually bonded to the abutment teeth for added support.
A traditional bridge is the most common type of dental bridge used to replace missing teeth. It is typically manufactured out of porcelain fused to ceramics or metal and can be placed anywhere in your mouth.
A cantilever bridge is unique because it is only anchored on one side of the empty gap instead of two. While it is only anchored on one side, it can provide a similar amount of support as a traditional bridge. It is often manufactured out of ceramic metal or a combination of ceramic and metal.
A cantilever can only be used in areas in which there are healthy gums and surrounding tissue. It is typically used to replace a missing front tooth, where it can often blend seamlessly with existing teeth. The single anchored cantilever bridge can’t support molars in the back of your mouth, where the force exerted from normal chewing is stronger.
A resin-bonded bridge, also called a Maryland bridge, is used when only one tooth is missing, typically at the front of your mouth. The resin-bonded bridge differs in the way that it’s bonded to the adjacent teeth.
Instead of connecting to crowns on either side of the gap, the resin-bonded bridge uses a more conservative approach. The Maryland bridge is structured like a flying bat. The false tooth sits in the center and two wings reach out on both sides of the false tooth.
Metal is used to form the wings and framework of the bridge. Ceramic is used to manufacture the artificial tooth so it blends with your natural teeth. A composite resin is used to create a durable bond to attach the wings to the anchor teeth.
A resin-bonded bridge preserves the structure of your natural teeth because it doesn’t require the use of crowns. When crowns are used to cover an anchor tooth, your natural tooth’s enamel has to be filed down to make room for the crown.
No matter which type of dental bridge you use, this type of tooth replacement can last up to 15 years or longer, depending on the location and your commitment to oral hygiene. You can extend the life of your bridge by working to keep your natural teeth healthy with daily brushing and flossing so they can continue to support the bridge.
After a period of adjustment, your dental bridge will feel like your natural teeth when you speak, smile, and chew. While you can enjoy normal function, you should avoid biting into sticky and hard foods to protect your bridge.
Find out more about dental bridges and which type can be the solution for your missing teeth. Schedule a consultation by calling our Yorktown Heights or Carmel office today.