February 3, 2010

Dental Bridges

Dental Bridges and Missing Teeth

Dental bridges are one of the earliest known fixes for the problem of missing teeth. According to the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons, around seventy percent of adults aged thirty-five to forty-four have lost a tooth. That may be due to decay, gum disease, an accident, or an unsuccessful root canal procedure. By the time they reach age seventy-four, more than a quarter of adults have none of their real teeth.

The Basics of Dental Bridges

A dental bridge is a device used to fill the gap where a tooth has been. A bridge helps to preserve the structure of the face. It can also help to ease the pressure caused by biting without all of one’s teeth.

For a dental bridge, or “fixed partial denture, to work, one or both of the teeth next to the gap needs to get a crown. The bridge is made of a false tooth attached to one or both of the crowns. It is most often fixed in place with a type of cement so that it can’t be removed except by a dentist.

Removable bridges, on the other hand, can be taken out of the mouth to clean or store them. Dental bridges may be fashioned from porcelain, alloys, gold, or a mix of these.

Dental Bridges and Dental Implants

Solutions that are more modern have been found in recent years. These include dental implants, which are prosthetic roots used to fasten artificial teeth to the jaw. While more costly, the way dental implants mimic real teeth makes many people choose them over bridges.

Implants have one more advantage, as well. “Osseointegration,” is a process in which the original titanium part of the implant bonds with the jaw bone. This is quite similar to the way a bond forms between the original tooth and the jaw. This process cuts down on bone loss, which occurs naturally with bridges.

Dental implants also do not require filing down the teeth next to the gap, as is done in the case of a bridge. This is good, since filed teeth are more likely to get plaque build-up. Note that implants are not the best choice for all patients. They are most often more costly than dental bridges, too.

If you would like to find out more about dental bridges, implants, and other dental restorations, ask your dentist.

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