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When a Dental Bridge is Right For You

Whenever you think it might be time for some long-overdue dental work, it’s only natural to do a little research in order to learn which procedure is the most appropriate for your situation.

When it comes to replacing teeth, one of the most time-honored and reliable treatments remains the dental bridge.

But don’t let the fact that dental bridges are time-honored, make you think they’re antiquated or old-fashioned. As dental technology has advanced over the years, so to have the flexibility, longevity, and reliability of dental bridges. Today’s dental bridges can last for many years, while successfully replacing missing teeth virtually everywhere in your mouth.

The Good News: 

The good news is that virtually anyone missing either one to three teeth is a candidate for replacing them with a dental bridge. To support the bridge, your healthy surrounding teeth will serve as a structural foundation. This means that they need to be free of decay and gum disease. Once these two conditions are met, the teeth are crowned and ready for the bridge and pontic (replacement tooth) to be installed.

On the other hand, if you’re missing more than 3 teeth, something like a partial denture might be more appropriate.

If You’re Missing “More Than a Couple” Teeth

When you’re missing more than a few teeth, you might be a candidate for implant supported bridges. With implant supported bridges, the implant is installed directly into your jawbone, where the implant’s titanium gradually fuses with the bone. Because of this, while the teeth are being replaced, the underlying bone must still be healthy and strong. For most patients, this isn’t a problem. However, if you’ve experienced deep, untreated decay and infection for years – this option could be out of the picture.

However, even if you’ve experienced some bone degeneration, there is still a chance that an implant supported bridge is a possibility. For some patients, bone grafting procedures can provide the density necessary to create a strong implant foundation.

When a Dental Bridge Won’t Work

Bad periodontal support:  The very first requirement of a strong dental bridge is healthy natural teeth on either side. If the support for a dental bridge is poor, it could cause future issues. On top of this, if existing support for teeth is bad, the resulting bone degeneration over time (from having a prosthetic) could result in the bridge coming loose over time.

More than 3 missing teeth

It is often more affordable to replace multiple missing teeth with a partial denture. However, some patients prefer the more expensive option of multiple dental implants or multiple dental bridges.

Too Many Healthy teeth

Sometimes, having too many healthy teeth can be a problem. But only when you’re trying to install a bridge. Since a dental bridge uses adjacent teeth as supports, it’s always a shame to have to remove enamel and healthy structure from a perfectly good tooth in order to crown it for a dental bridge.  In these occasions, it’s generally preferable to use an implanted dental crown.