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The Bridge Back To A Complete Smile

Posted on May 27th, 2016

Teeth replacement is not a new phenomenon. People have been doing it in various ways for thousands of years.

For example, the ancient Mayans used carved stones and seashells to replace missing teeth. That sounds painful to us.

Today, we can offer our patients more comfortable and more natural-looking replacements for their lost teeth at our dentist office in Marietta, GA.

One way we do this is with dental bridges, which may be used to replace individual teeth or multiple teeth at the same time.

If you would like to find out if a dental bridge or one of our other restorative services could help you, please feel free to schedule a consultation at Atlanta West Dentistry.

The Types Of Bridges

If you have done any traveling, then you have probably seen bridges. You’ve probably noticed that bridges are constructed in a variety of ways depending on their purpose.

Dental bridges are similar in this regard. The type of bridge your receive will depend on how many teeth need to be replaced and where the missing tooth or teeth were located.

If you have some extra space in your smile, here are a few ways you could span that gap:

◼︎ Traditional bridges — This kind of bridge can be used to replace one or more teeth. Like all bridges, this is made by fusing dental crowns together. In this case, the two outside crowns are bonded to the teeth on either side of the empty space. Those crowns are called abutment crowns.

The crowns in the middle are called pontics. They fill in the space where you once had teeth. This completes the appearance of your smile.

◼︎ Implant-supported bridges — The development of dental implants has had a tremendous impact on dentistry. Implants replace the roots of your missing teeth, and they can be used to supported dental bridges.

Depending on the size and location of your bridge, you may need one or more implants to hold it securely in place.

◼︎ Cantilever bridges — These bridges are less common than they other kinds. These are typically used when someone has a missing tooth in the back of his or her mouth.

Since there is not another tooth behind the open space, this bridge only has one abutment crown. The pontic basically hangs over the empty space in your mouth.

The Right Kind Of Bridge For You

As dentists, we encourage you to replace your missing teeth, but we also know that selecting what kind of replacement can be a difficult decision.

If you have a single missing tooth, you could get a dental bridge with two abutments crowns and a pontic in the middle. Another option would be to get a dental implant with a dental crown placed on top of it.

If you are missing two, three, or four teeth, then the decision is between different kinds of dental bridges.

With a traditional bridge, you would have the two abutment crowns and as many pontics as you need to fill in the gap.

To create space for the abutment crowns, we need to reshape the teeth on either side of the opening in your smile. 

When we do this procedure for a dental crown, it is usually because the tooth has become chipped or damaged by tooth decay. For a dental bridge, we may be reshaping two teeth that are healthy so they can provide the support for the bridge.

With an implant-supported bridge, we don’t have to do anything to your healthy teeth. Instead, we place an implant or implants into your jaw, and we attach the bridge to the implant or implants.

This kind of bridge is more expensive, but it has a benefit over a traditional bridge. The implants provide stimulation to your jawbone just as the roots of your healthy teeth do. This stimulation encourages new bone growth, and that keeps your bone strong.

A traditional bridge doesn’t have anything under the pontics, which means your jawbone does not receive the same kind of stimulation.

Talk To Us Before Deciding On Your Bridge

Dental bridges are intended to do two things. First, they restore the appearance of your smile. Second, they restore your ability to bite and chew food.

Our dentists would be glad to discuss in more detail the benefits of each kind of bridge at our office in Marietta, GA. All you have to do is make an appointment at Atlanta West Dentistry. You can do this by filling out our online form or by calling (770) 941-6979.