Dental bridges are one of the best solutions for replacing missing teeth. A dental or tooth bridge is a false tooth (or multiple false teeth) anchored in place with dental implants or with two or more crowns attached to adjacent teeth. The false teeth are cemented to the crowns, and the crowns are cemented to adjacent teeth, providing strong and stable support for the bridge.
But as with any dental treatment, bridges come both advantages and disadvantages. So before you decide whether or not to restore your smile with a tooth bridge, here’s what you need to know about the pros and cons of dental bridges.
The Pros of Dental Bridges
Achieve a Beautiful and Natural-Looking Smile
Dental bridges are usually porcelain, a material that can be shaped and coloured to closely resemble natural teeth. Your dentist will match the colour and shape of your new teeth to the rest of your smile — you’ll barely be able to tell the difference between your natural teeth and your new pearly whites.
Bridges don’t just replace missing teeth; they also give adjacent teeth a makeover. The teeth either side of your missing tooth/teeth will be filed down and replaced with a crown, which can restore the health and appearance of these teeth.
Tooth Bridges Are Easy to Place
When restoring your smile, you probably want to see results as soon as possible. So you’ll be pleased to hear the placement of dental bridges is a relatively fast and easy process.
Most people only need to make two trips to the dentist. During the first appointment, your dentist will take moulds of your teeth and file your adjacent teeth to make them suitable for crowns. Then on your second visit, your dentist will fit the bridge.
If you have any other dental issues, or you’re using a dental implant to anchor a bridge, you may need more trips to the dentist before your bridge is placed. Your dentist may also schedule a follow-up appointment to check on your bridge.
Dental Bridges Are a Comfortable Solution
As well as looking beautifully natural, bridges also feel just as comfortable as your real teeth. You can eat, speak and chew normally without feeling self-conscious. And you won’t have to spend long getting used to your dental bridge — it should feel comfortable as soon as the anaesthetic from the procedure wears off.
Dental Bridges Can Prevent Bone Loss
When you lose a tooth, the bone underneath is no longer stimulated by the force of biting and chewing. Without this stimulation, your jawbone can start to weaken and over time, this can lead to bone loss.
However, by replacing your missing tooth/teeth with a dental bridge, your jawbone won’t weaken or decrease in density. It will remain just as strong as if your natural teeth remain.
Prevent Your Teeth from Moving out of Alignment
Another common side effect of tooth loss is a misalignment — when your teeth start to move into the gap left by missing teeth. By using a dental bridge to fill that gap, you’ll prevent your teeth from moving out of alignment.
Bridges Are Easy to Maintain
Dental bridges aren’t removable, so you don’t have to take them out when you brush your teeth. Instead, you simply brush your teeth — and bridge — as normal. As long as you keep up a good dental care routine, and visit your dentist for check-ups and hygienist appointments regularly, your bridge should be easy to maintain.
Dental Bridges Can Last Many Years
If you keep up your dental hygiene and take good care of your bridge, it can be a long-term solution to missing teeth. Most dental bridges last between five and 15 years, but you can increase the lifespan of your new teeth by taking good care of them.
The Cons of Dental Bridges
Tooth Bridges Aren’t Permanent
While dental bridges can last over ten years, they won’t last forever. So you’ll need to replace your bridge periodically, every five to 15 years or so, to make sure your smile stays healthy. Replacing your bridge also prevents wear and tear from damaging the teeth beneath the crowns.
Healthy Teeth Will Need to Be Filed
Before a dental bridge is fitted, your dentist needs to file down the teeth either side of your missing teeth so the crowns can be placed. Once your teeth are filed, you’ll always need to have a crown bonded to them.
There Is a Slight Risk of Nerve Damage
A very rare risk associated with dental bridges is nerve damage. The procedure can damage the nerves beneath your gums, and cause you to need root canal treatment in the future. However, only a small percentage of people experience nerve damage as a result of dental bridges.
Flossing a Dental Bridge Can Be Difficult
While maintaining dental bridges is generally straightforward, flossing can be a little tricky. Dental bridges aren’t rooted in your gums like dental implants, so plaque can build between the underside of the bridge and your gums. You may need to use special techniques and products to keep the underside of the bridge clean.
If you’re ready to replace your missing teeth and restore your smile, get in touch with Tooth Doctor today. Our friendly dentists can walk you through your options and help you get the ball rolling.