Statistically, most adults between 20 to 65 years currently have at least three dental pieces suffering from tooth decay (which will eventually fall) or have missing teeth altogether.
Whether for aesthetical or health reasons, replacing the missing tooth pieces becomes mandatory. In these cases, one common dental restoration technique is a tooth bridge.
As the name implies, the main structure of a tooth bridge functions as a “bridge” that fills the gap resulting from a missing tooth.
The tooth bridge uses one or both adjacent teeth as anchors and, once put in place, the replacement tooth pieces appear just like your natural teeth.
After a thorough examination, your dentist might determine you´re a candidate for a tooth bridge. If that´s the case, the next thing to establish is what type of tooth bridge suits you best.
In this guide, we´ll be talking about all tooth bridge options, so you (alongside your dentist) can better choose what´s the best type of tooth bridge for your case.
Five types of tooth bridges: which one suits you best?
The most common types of tooth bridges used for dental restoration procedures are five:
Traditional bridges are usually lightweight, small, comfortable to use, and (if cared for properly) long-lasting. These characteristics make them, hands down, the most popular tooth bridge option.
Perhaps the only downside of traditional tooth bridges is that they require the modification of both adjacent abutment teeth. So, to protect them, the crowns need to be well-fitted.
These are similar to a traditional tooth bridge. The main difference is that a cantilever bridge needs only one natural abutment tooth to hold it in place.
Cantilever bridges are not well-suited for back teeth restorations. However, this design might be perfect for saving time and money on front tooth replacement procedures.
As their name suggests, Implant-supported bridges are held in place by surgically-placed implants. Also, due to their strength, they are regarded as the most resistant and stable tooth replacement system.
This procedure requires two different surgeries, one to embed the implants and the other to place the bridge. Because of this, the complete restoration might take some months.
Like traditional bridges, Maryland bridges attach themselves to two adjacent abutment teeth. However, they don´t rely on crowns to stay in place.
Instead, Maryland bridges use a metal or porcelain framework fixed to the back of both abutment teeth. On the downside, they´re only as resistant as the adhesive used.
Also, the metal framework of some Maryland bridges might cause tooth discolouration.
Composite bridges are similar to Maryland bridges but use different materials to recreate the missing tooth. Also, composite bridges are held in place by a reinforced wire (known as Ribbond).
Usually, they can be made (and installed) in the same session, which makes it a fast, affordable tooth replacement solution.
As you can see, each type of tooth bridge serves a particular case and situation.
The use of tooth bridges brings many benefits. Still, there are many factors (one of them, costs) you should go about with your dentist before making a final decision.
Nevertheless, this is but a brief guide. Whether you choose a tooth bridge or implant, rest assured that your dentist will give the best possible treatment to your case.