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. An experienced restorative and cosmetic dentist in Columbia, Dr. Ray Becker offers several options for tooth replacement, including dental bridges.
How Does a Dental Bridge Work?
A bridge can be supported in three ways:
- With a dental implant
- With neighboring natural teeth
- A combination of the two mentioned above
When the natural teeth are used to support the bridgework, a dental crown is typically placed to provide additional support and stability. A dental bridge 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 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 require 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 lifelike 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.
The cost of both restorations is another major difference between implants and bridges. In most cases, dental implants will cost considerably more upfront. However, they are also less likely to need costly maintenance or repairs that will accumulate over the years. Implants may be less expensive in the long term.
The time it takes to get your dental bridge is fairly quick when compared to getting dental implants. Implants are surgically placed in your jawbone and will need about three to six months to heal before the final dental bridge can be permanently attached to them. A bridge that will be connected to abutment teeth can be placed in a few weeks.
“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.”
Schedule a Consultation
If you have missing teeth, we offer dental bridges in our Columbia, MD office. Schedule an appointment today with Dr. Becker at Howard County Smiles. We will discuss your oral health, concerns, and budget to see which missing teeth option is right for you.