What Is A Tooth-Supported Bridge And Is It The Right Choice For Your Dental Needs?

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A dental bridge is a fixed artificial tooth option that can replace one or two missing teeth that are in a row. Bridges offer a more stable option than removable partial dentures with a lower cost than dental implants. The traditional style of bridge is formally called a tooth-supported bridge due to the two dental crowns that attach to neighboring teeth to hold the bridge in place.

Tooth-supported bridges have pros and cons that can help you and your cosmetic dentistry professional decide if this is the right replacement option for your situation.

Pro: Easy to Install and Removable

The bridge process will involve the dentist making molds of the natural teeth that will act as anchors. Those teeth are then lightly filed and coated in a bonding cement. The dentist can then attach the dental crowns that will hold the artificial teeth in place. This process might take a couple of office visits to a place like Four Corners Dental Group but is relatively easy and painless overall.

If you change your mind about the bridge at a later date, your dentist can remove this type of appliance without any risk of damaging the natural teeth. The dentist will only loosen the bonding agent and then pull off the bridge. The option of removing the bridge might appeal to you if you plan to get dental implants at a later date.

Con: Not as Natural Feeling, Doesn't Stimulate Jawbone Health

The artificial teeth aren't attached to the bone or gum tissue underneath so you won't get as natural of a feeling when chewing as you might with a dental implant. The lack of jawbone interaction also means that the bridge isn't doing anything to help promote jawbone health in the area, which means the bone can degrade over time and potentially threaten the health of your natural teeth.

The jawbone-inserted roots of dental implants do provide a health-promoting friction that helps prevent bone loss. If bone loss is a major concern of yours, consider going for implant-supported partial dentures instead of the tooth-supported bridge.

Con: Requires Healthy Neighboring Teeth

The tooth-supported bridge can only work if you have at least two healthy teeth surrounding the missing tooth or teeth being replaced. If you have multiple teeth missing in a row, you will want to consider partial dentures instead.

Note that the healthy teeth don't' have to sit on either side of the gap. Your dentist can put the dental crowns on two teeth on the same side of the hole so that the artificial teeth still have the same level of support even if the distribution is slightly different.