Our teeth are constantly in use, so it’s not at all surprising that they wear down and decay over time, especially if they aren’t cared for adequately. Some of the tooth problems we may encounter due to a lack of dental hygiene include cavities, stained teeth, chipped or cracked teeth, and, at worst, missing teeth.
Since we only get one set of adult teeth, losing some is a terrible experience—but uncommon. In fact, the American Dental Association (ADA) has reported that many adults from 20 to 64 have three or more missing or decaying teeth.
Missing teeth can affect a person’s smile, ability to chew, and speech. In some cases, it may even cause pain or discomfort in the jaw and alter one’s bite. While we can go on with our lives with gaps in our teeth, it’s best to address the issue early on if we have the means to do so.
Family dentistry, or dentistry in general, has come a long way. There are several solutions to missing teeth, one of which is the dental bridge.
The Case for Dental Bridges
Most people may be more familiar with dentures or implants. If you’re the same, then you already have a basic understanding of how dental bridges work.
Dental bridges, as its name suggests, bridge the gap left by one or more missing teeth. Thanks to modern technology, dental bridges function the same way as a regular tooth and even look and feel the same.
Additionally, there are several types of dental bridges today. They differ according to approach and material used, so there’s likely an option for everyone.
Traditional Dental Bridge
The first and most popular type of dental bridge is the traditional dental bridge. Dentists usually recommend this type to patients with natural, healthy teeth on both sides of the gap created by the missing tooth.
The traditional dental bridge consists of the replacement tooth as well as two crowns for the abutment teeth. The crowns are either ceramic or porcelain fused to metal. To affix the crowns on the abutment teeth, the dentist will need to remove some enamel to ensure that they fit perfectly.
Cantilever Dental Bridge
The cantilever dental bridge is similar to the traditional dental bridge in that it uses a crown to secure the bridge. However, this type is much more suited for patients with consecutive teeth missing and no natural teeth on one side of the gap.
Maryland Dental Bridge
If you have missing front teeth, the Maryland Dental Bridge may be the best option for you. Unlike the Traditional and Cantilever Dental Bridges, the Maryland Dental Bridge makes use of a metal framework attached to the abutment teeth. The replacement tooth is then bound to the adjacent teeth.
Implant-Supported Dental Bridge
Last, and perhaps the most unique type, is the Implant-Supported Dental Bridge. The Implant-Supported Dental Bridge does not use crowns or metal frameworks. Instead, dentists secure the pontic tooth to titanium posts that are implanted into the patient’s jawbone.
This type of dental bridge works best for people who grind their teeth or have more than one tooth missing.
Dental bridges wear down over time, much like natural teeth do. How soon we’ll need to replace our dental bridges will depend on how well we take care of them.
One of the tips we recommend in maintaining dental bridges is practicing good dental hygiene. This means regular brushing, flossing, and rinsing. Another is to avoid chewing on hard foods.
Lastly, visit a dental professional whenever possible. Dentists can check on the health of our dental bridges and even offer professional dental cleanings to maintain the health of the dental bridge and our natural teeth.
If you find yourself needing an emergency dentist in Franklin, Tennessee, Mid TN Dental is here to help. We offer an extensive range of dental services, including but not limited to dental bridges, clear aligners, dental crowns, and dental exams and check-ups.