When a tooth or set of teeth is lost, it places adjacent teeth at risk of oral complications. Without needed support, surrounding teeth can shift and alter the structure of the mouth. Tooth loss also compromises oral functions and detracts from the beauty of the smile. For these reasons and more, it is important to address tooth loss as soon as possible.
A dental bridge is often the best choice for tooth loss that is isolated to a single area of the mouth. Dental bridges can replace a single tooth or a group of teeth. There are two ways in which a dental bridge can be anchored in the mouth, either by dental crowns or dental implants.
At Bell Dental, our experienced dentists discuss implant-supported vs. traditional dental bridges with our Lake Jackson, TX patients, and help them choose a technique that is most appropriate for their unique situation.
Traditional Dental Bridge
A traditional dental bridge consists of a pontic, which is a single piece that is designed to resemble a tooth or set of teeth, and two dental crowns (one on either side of the pontic). When a traditional dental bridge is placed, the two teeth immediately adjacent to the gap of missing teeth are reshaped and fitted with the dental crowns. Together, the dental crowns and the natural teeth beneath them anchor the bridge in place.
A traditional dental bridge is strong, durable, and attractive. Many patients like that a dental bridge can be placed quickly (usually within two dental appointments) and is relatively affordable. There are two downsides of a traditional dental bridge. Otherwise healthy teeth must be altered; and the bridge fails to provide stimulation to the jawbone beneath the area of tooth loss, which could eventually lead to bone degeneration.
Implant-supported Dental Bridge
Thanks to continuing advances in dental technology, patients now have the option to receive an implant-supported dental bridge. Like a traditional bridge, an implant-supported bridge contains a pontic piece that is fabricated to replace a missing tooth or teeth. The difference is that the pontic is anchored by dental implants rather than the natural teeth.
Implants are tiny titanium screws that are surgically implanted into the jawbone beneath the area of tooth loss. Dental implants provide superior support for enhanced strength and oral functions, and they do so without altering the patient’s remaining teeth.
Implant-supported dental bridges are also unique because they act as artificial tooth roots, so they continue to provide stimulation to the jawbone, which is vital to preventing the loss of healthy bone tissues. While implant-supported dental bridges offer a number of benefits, they do require a lengthy treatment process, and are significantly more expensive than traditional dental bridges.
Choosing the Right Treatment Method
Traditional and implant-supported dental bridges each offer their own benefits and drawbacks. When choosing which treatment method is right for you, it will come down to your unique needs and preferences. The experienced team of dentists at Bell Dental will consider each patient’s overall oral health, the strength of the jawbone, and expectations for treatment before recommending a treatment method.
If you have suffered tooth loss and would like to learn more about the restorative dentistry treatments that can rebuild your smile, contact us at your earliest convenience. The experienced team of dentists at Bell Dental will be happy to discuss your dental needs and recommend an appropriate treatment plan.