Building A Bridge For Your New Smile

  • May 20, 2016

We have written multiple times about the importance of replacing missing teeth.

Most of the time, we have focused on repairing or replacing a single tooth with a dental crown or replacing a complete arch of missing teeth with implant supported dentures.

Today we want to focus on what to do if your missing teeth problem lies between those two extremes. If you are missing a few teeth, we will recommend a dental bridge.

We want you to learn a little bit about the kinds of dental bridges, and how each one can be placed in your mouth.

Our dentists want our patients in Lexington, Danville, and the rest of Central Kentucky to know what restorative options are available at any Beaumont Family Dentistry location.

Building A Bridge

Dental bridges are made to close the space that was previously occupied by your natural teeth.

Each dental bridge is made by fusing multiple dental crowns together. Dental crowns are replacements for the crowns of your teeth.

In many cases, dental crowns are made to preserve the healthy parts of teeth that have been damaged by an injury or due to decay. The damaged parts of the tooth are removed, and what’s left is reshaped into an abutment. This is where the dental crowns are bonded to your tooth.

This is important to remember because it will help you understand how some kinds of dental bridges are attached to your teeth.

Types Of Bridges

The type of bridge you receive can be affected by several factors. The location of your missing teeth is one factor. The health of the surrounding teeth is another.

The first two types of bridges are known as fixed bridges.

  • Traditional bridge — A traditional dental bridge is composed of two kinds of dental crowns. The crowns on the outside are abutment crowns. The crowns in the middle are known as pontics.

With this kind of bridge, the teeth on either side of the gap in your mouth are reshaped into abutments. The abutment crowns are bonded to those teeth. This is where your bridge gets its support.

The pontics fill in the space that was created when you lost your teeth. When the dental bridge is placed, your smile will look complete, and you will regain much of your chewing ability.

  • Cantilever bridge — This is an option if you are missing a tooth in the back of our mouth. Since you won’t have teeth on both sides of the open space, the closest tooth is reshaped into an abutment.

This kind of bridge would have just one abutment crown with a pontic crown next to it. These bridges are less likely to be used the either of the other kinds.

  • Implant-supported bridge — Rather than reshaping otherwise healthy teeth to support a dental bridge, you could place your dental bridge on a dental implant or implants, instead.

Dental implants replace the roots of your missing teeth. Like the roots of your healthy teeth, implants are held firmly in place by your jawbone. Each implant has an abutment on the end, which can be used to support a dental crown or a dental bridge.

The number of dental implants you need will vary depending on the size of your bridge.

The Right Bridge For You

Only you can decide which kind of bridge will work for you, but we can offer some guidance.

If someone we loved lost three teeth, we would recommend getting an implant-supported bridge for a few reasons.

First, the implants provide a secure, stable foundation to support the dental bridge. The implants help to maintain the health of the jaw, and they allow your bridge to function as much like real teeth as possible.

Second, you don’t have to remove parts of healthy teeth with this kind of bridge. Instead, your dental bridge will become part of the support system of your remaining teeth.

Third, an implant-supported bridge puts less strain on your healthy teeth.

In our example, our loved one is missing three teeth. A traditional bridge for this would include five crowns. This also means two teeth would be carrying the burden of five teeth. Over time, that added strain could affect the healthy teeth.

Crossing That Bridge

Hopefully, neither you nor anyone you love will ever have to worry about replacing lost or missing teeth. If you do, then you should contact the Beaumont Family Dentistry office closest to you to make an appointment. With three locations in Lexington, KY, our dentists are close by and ready to help.

To make an appointment, call one of our offices or use our online form.

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