If you are experiencing certain dental problems, you might have been offered the option of a dental bridge. However, you might be wondering if there are other choices out there that are better. Maybe you are currently wearing a dental bridge but are looking for another option.
There are a few dental bridge alternatives that are worth checking out. Your dentist will be able to go through all the options with you more in-depth. They will also be able to advise you on which one might be best for your specific situation.
It’s always a good idea though to do some research on your own before heading into the dental office. This way you can make a more informed decision.
What is a Dental Bridge?
In case you aren’t sure what a dental bridge is, here is a short explanation. It’s one of the most popular ways to replace missing teeth. It usually comes in two parts. The first is a fake tooth that will replace the tooth you have lost. The second part is the part that anchors the fake tooth into place.
You might also hear the anchor called the abutment. They are basically dental crowns that the dentist will bond onto your natural teeth that are on either side of the missing tooth. The abutments have to be shaped so that they can be bonded with the teeth. Your dentist might also have to file them down or reshape them.
If this is not a good option for you or you tried it in the past but it didn’t work, there are some other options you can discuss with the dentist.
Maryland bridges do not use abutments. Instead, the fake tooth will be held in place with a metal framework that the dentist will bond to the back of the teeth on either side of the missing tooth.
Many people choose Maryland bridges because you don’t have to put crowns on the healthy teeth near the space where the missing tooth is located. This means your surrounding teeth will be completely intact.
However, many people choose not to use this method because the only thing holding the bridge into place is resin. It’s much weaker than having a bridge that is anchored into place with an abutment.
Bridge Supported With Implants
This type of bridge will be held in place with dental implants. Each false tooth needs to be supported by its own implant for this to work the best it can. If you cannot support each tooth with a bridge, then the implant-supported bridge can use crowns of dental implants to support the fake teeth.
These implants are much more supported than Maryland bridges. They also do not require any of your healthy teeth to be reshaped or fitted for crowns. Many people do not go for this option though simply because it takes the longest time. The whole process can take months plus you have to wait for the dental implants to heal as well.
Another option you have is dental implants. This is where a very small titanium post is put into the jawbone where the tooth has fallen out. This will replace the missing root of the tooth. An abutment is then attached to the titanium that is acting as a root.
This will then anchor the out part of the dental implant which is the crown. So, a dental implant will have three major parts. It will have the root, the abutment, and the crown. Many people avoid getting dental implants because the process takes months. However, if the dentist does them properly and you practice good oral hygiene, they can last a lifetime.
Dental implants are the best option for many people because of some very important advantages:
- Structured just like real teeth. This makes them very easy to clean and take care of. Dental bridges on the other hand are very hard to take care of because food can get stuck in between the parts.
- No risks of tooth decay or fractures. Abutments in bridges are attached to real teeth which means they are at risk for further dental problems in the future.
- Dental implants look better and most people have no idea that you even have dental implants.
- Bridges anchored to real teeth tend to become loose over time. You might also find that it’s very hard to bite down or chew certain foods.
- Dental bridges only last about 10 years while dental implants can last a lifetime as long as they are properly cared for.
Dental implants are one of the more invasive options though which is why many people want to avoid them. If you are scared of going to the dentist or do not like oral procedures, you might find this option difficult.
However, it lasts a lifetime which means you will have to spend less time at the dentist in the future.
Some people also choose to get an appliance that can be removed. These are often cheaper and many people prefer them.
Full Arch Bridge
This is often one of the best choices for people who are missing most of their natural teeth. The remaining teeth you do have will all be fitted for crowns. The bridge will then be placed on the crowns so that everything fits together into a tight lock.
This does not require any type of surgery. You can also remove it when needed. It takes a bit of force to remove it compared to other removable appliances, but you will be able to take it out when needed.
Denture with Locks or Attachments
This option is much more similar to the classic denture option. They have more components that hold them into place though compared to dentures. First, you will need to have crowns placed over your existing teeth.
The combination of the dentures and the crowns helps to hold the dentures into place since they act as a sort of locking system. You should hear the dentures click into place when you use this kind of appliance.
Dentures with Magnets
As with all the other choices, you will need to have a few natural teeth for this appliance to work. Special magnets will be placed over the canals of the teeth on the surface where the dentures are held in place.
The dentures are then put in where they will attract the magnets and allow everything to click into place.
Which Choice is Right For Me?
Before choosing an alternative to a dental bridge, you might want to discuss it with your dentist. They will be able to evaluate your natural teeth and see which one is right for you.
In general, people who do not like invasive procedures tend to choose removable appliances. This is because the process is often shorter.
Implants are the best choice for many because they are the most permanent. You will need to take care of yourself during the healing process though.
There are many different alternatives to dental bridges such as implants, different types of bridges, and removable appliances. You can choose which one is best for you based on your current dental situation.