A: A bridge is a fixed solution to replace, one, two─ sometimes upwards of four or six teeth using your teeth as anchors. What we do is we cover those teeth and they’re connected in the middle, it’s cemented on and can last upwards of 10-20 years.
Even though dental bridges in Corpus are a quite common procedure, most patients aren’t as informed about them as other treatments. Dental procedures such as fillings, teeth whitening, and braces often take center stage in terms of patient awareness.
So, then what is the all too overlooked and mysterious dental bridge all about?
When we recommend dental bridges in Corpus, we are talking about a tooth replacement option as Dr. Vela mentioned. When Dr. Vela mentions “the teeth as anchors,” he is speaking of neighboring teeth on either side of the bridge. Those anchoring teeth are referred to as “abutment” teeth and the prosthetic, called a bridge, is sandwiched between. The bridge can consist of one single tooth or as many as six consecutive teeth.
Dental bridges in Corpus can be crafted from a wide array of materials. Everything from metals such as gold, or ceramics like porcelain or zirconia. Often, bridges are also created from a hybrid of these materials. Your options are typically determined by budget, location of the bridge, and/or any extenuating circumstances pertinent to your case.
What Do Dental Bridges In Corpus Look Like?
While bridges function remarkably similar in structure across the board─ aesthetically, the look depends on the type of bridge you go with. The positive take from this is that it’s very easy to match a bridge to your natural teeth. The modern materials and methods that continue to advance all the time, make a natural look feasible.
Now, regarding the types of bridges available, the differences lie in how they are anchored in your mouth.
When To Use a Dental Bridge
Dental bridges are a treatment option in several scenarios all of which deal with the problem of missing teeth.
Whether you’re getting teeth extracted because of decay, or damaged a tooth so bad it needs to be pulled, you need to fill in the gap. Leaving a gap in one of your arches can allow remaining teeth and jawbone to experience a dramatic shift. If not corrected, eventually, that missing tooth can even cause your facial structure to change.
Now, granted, an implant is typically the ultimate solution for a missing tooth. However, in some cases such as with young patients that still have their teeth and mouth still developing, a bridge might be preferred.
A dental bridge is only a viable option if the teeth on either side are healthy enough to anchor the bridge. If that is the case, then it’s just a matter of choosing which type of bridge to use in your situation.
Types of Available Dental Bridges In Corpus
If you’re an ideal candidate for a dental bridge your dentist will educate you on the different types of bridges. It’s always good though to know your options ahead of time so you will understand more clearly, what your dentist is recommending.
If you assumed that most patients go for a traditional bridge then you would be correct. The pontic, or false tooth, is secured by crowns placed on each neighboring abutment tooth. The crowns are used to protect the abutment teeth from damage. This is a very strong bridge design and it’s even capable of replacing molars. However, there is a downside. Enamel needs to be removed on each abutment tooth to facilitate the crown. Since enamel doesn’t grow back, these teeth will always need crowns, even if you opt for an implant in the future.
Getting a traditional bridge is not a decision to make without serious consideration. If you can afford it and your situation allows for it, you should go with an implant. Since an implant does no damage to remaining teeth, it is by far the better option.
A cantilever bridge diverges from the traditional bridge design in that the pontic is only anchored on one side. These are usually used when there’s more than one missing tooth next to each other. However, this bridge design is also less stable which can lead to issues down the road.
The Maryland bridge is perfect for adolescents where teeth are still growing. This is because it’s held in place by porcelain or metal wings. It’s more of a temporary solution until the teeth have stopped growing and a permanent bridge is used.
An implant-anchored bridge is self-explanatory. It uses dental implants to anchor and negates the need for a crown. It’s incredibly strong but also requires the same surgery like dental implants, since it is essentially the same concept.
Alternatives to Dental Bridges In Corpus
When you start considering all the types of bridges and caveats such as damage to anchoring teeth, you might be reconsidering. Many people do waiver back and forth about whether bridges are right for them. Naturally, there are some other alternatives to dental bridges in Corpus that may be a better fit for your case. Let’s take a look at three alternatives and how they could be right for you.
Bridge vs. Dental Implants
When replacing just one tooth, the cost is a non-factor as a traditional bridge will cost about the same as a single implant. There are two things to think about though:
- Bridges don’t require a surgical procedure with longer recovery time. Dental implants do, but they last a lifetime compared to bridges 10-15 year lifespan.
- Implants prevent jawbone disintegration and a host of related problems. Only implants can stop jawbone damage. However, if your jawbone is already weak and beyond grafting, implants are off the table.
Bridge vs. Crown
A bridge and crown debate is more dependent on the specifics of the situation. Crowns cost much less but can only be useful in certain scenarios:
- If it’s minor damage like a small chip, a crown can be used. It would just cover the tooth like a façade. Saving the tooth is always the best option overall.
- Crowns don’t usually interfere with neighboring teeth.
Bridges vs. Partial Dentures
A partial denture is a removable prosthetic of teeth that is plastic on metal and fills the gap where teeth are missing.
- Partial dentures tend to damage neighboring teeth.
- High risk of trapped bacteria causing gum disease or infection.
- A bridge should be your first option, but if opting for a partial, both adjacent teeth must be very strong.
Pros and Cons of Dental Bridges In Corpus
Dental bridges, like any other procedure, can have both pros and cons depending on each patient’s circumstances. Generally, dental bridges are a good option because:
- They are an economical solution if you can’t afford dental implants.
- Bridges still allow speaking, eating, and smiling without the stigma of a missing tooth.
- Dental bridges prevent remaining teeth from shifting, as well as the tongue. This helps to maintain a proper bite.
- This process is quicker and less invasive than other tooth replacement options.
However, dental bridges also have a few reasons to be concerned
- If a bridge isn’t fitted right, it can cause damage and decay to the abutment teeth due to plaque and bacteria getting underneath.
- The abutment teeth may be too weak to support the bridge and could fracture or collapse, often forcing the need for dental implants.
- Flossing is very hard with a dental bridge which can lead to gingivitis and tooth decay without more frequent cleanings.
Want To Know If Dental Bridges Are Right For You?
The only way to be sure if a dental bridge is the right solution for you is to get a consultation. Dr. Vela is happy to visit with you to determine if a bridge is the best treatment for your situation. All we need you to do is contact us, and schedule today!