If you have a missing tooth or multiple missing teeth, you may struggle with day to day activities such as eating and speaking. Missing teeth can also negatively affect your appearance and may even cause you to feel self-conscious about your smile. No matter what the reason for tooth loss, missing teeth should be replaced to restore both function and appearance.
Additionally, replacing missing teeth is also recommended by dentists to maintain your oral health. Replacing missing teeth prevents your remaining teeth from shifting to fill the gap, which can cause the bite to become misaligned. A misaligned bite can further complicate things by placing additional strain on the jaw joint. Thus, replacing missing teeth preserves the structural integrity of your smile.
This is why general dentists provide different dental restorations for replacing missing teeth. One commonly used restoration is called a dental bridge. There are four different types of dental bridges:
Traditional Dental Bridge
The traditional dental bridge is the most commonly used type of bridge. Traditional dental bridges are composed of a fake tooth surrounded on either side by a dental crown. The dental crowns support the bridge, while the fake tooth bridges the gap left by a missing tooth. To place a traditional dental bridge, there must be healthy teeth on either side of the gap. Both of these teeth will need to be modified to have dental crowns placed in order to support the bridge.
Maryland Bonded Bridge
A Maryland Bonded Bridge uses a metal framework to support itself. With this type of bridge, dental crowns are not required. Instead a metal framework is wrapped around or adhered to the natural teeth on either side of the fake tooth. Since they do not require dental crowns, Maryland bridges are ideal for patient’s who do not want their natural teeth altered.
A Cantilever bridge is slightly different in structure than the other types of dental bridges. This is because this type of bridge uses a single natural tooth to support a fake tooth. Cantilever bridges are often easier to place and more affordable than the other types of dental bridges because they only require a dental crown to be placed on a single tooth. However, this also means that this bridge lacks the same strength as the other types. For this reason, they can also be used towards the front of the mouth.
Like their name suggests, this type of dental bridge is supported by dental implants. Dental implants are artificial tooth roots that are used to replace missing teeth. An implant-supported bridge can be used when there are multiple missing adjacent teeth or when the teeth surrounding the gap are not able to support dental crowns. However, to place an implant-supported bridge, there must be an adequate amount of bone mass. Therefore, this type of bridge may not be ideal for everyone.
These four different types of dental bridges offer patients with missing teeth a variety of restoration options. While they all utilize a similar structure to restore missing teeth, each type offers different ways of supporting a dental bridge. These options allow dental bridges to be used for a variety of patients with different dental needs. In the end, your general dentist will examine your case and provide advice on which type of dental bridge is best suited for your needs.
Dr. Dennis Laurich has been practicing dentistry for over 40 years. He received his DDS degree from the University of Michigan Dental School and regularly attends oral health care conventions to continue his dental education. This allows him to treat patients with the leading dental technology and methodologies. Additionally, he is a member of the American Dental Association, Michigan Dental Association, and the Detroit District Dental Society.