Missing teeth can cause a domino effect on dental health: the lost tooth root begins to disintegrate, allowing bone to shrink and remaining teeth to change position. Ellicott City dentist Dr. Ray Becker offer several options for tooth replacement, including dental bridges.
How Does a Dental Bridge Work?
A bridge can be supported in three ways:
- by natural teeth,
- dental implants,
- or a combination of the two.
When the natural teeth are used to support the bridgework, a dental crown is typically placed to provide additional support and stability.Dental bridges can require up to three dental crowns. Two of those crowns will be placed over healthy teeth on either side of the missing tooth; these healthy teeth are referred to as abutment teeth. The two crowned abutment teeth become supports for a third crown placed in between them; that third crown is referred to as a pontic.
If more than one tooth is missing, more crowns will be needed to bridge the gap in between the abutment teeth.
The number of abutment teeth necessary to replace missing teeth is influenced by the number of missing teeth, the size and length of the abutment tooth roots, the amount of bone support each abutment tooth has, as well as where in the mouth the missing tooth is located. For example, if you have three missing teeth, four abutment teeth may be necessary, thereby creating a seven-tooth bridge.
Engineering and designing of the bridge requires an understanding of how to replace teeth, as well as the biology of the supporting gum and bone tissue.
Dental Bridges vs. Dental Implants
If you have missing teeth, you are probably choosing between dental implants or a dental bridge.
Dr. Becker offers both options for replacing missing teeth and can help you determine which is best for you. While dental implants offer the most life-like replacement for missing teeth, they are not for everyone. Things that could disqualify you as a candidate for implants include bone health, age, and location of missing teeth.
Another major difference between implants and bridges is cost. In most cases, dental implants are more, however, they are also less likely to need maintenance or repair and can be less expensive in the long term.
“Most recently he put in a permanent bridge.. it saved me a lot of time and money putting that in. The crowns are made of porcelain and he does them in one visit which is a real plus.”