Replacing Damaged or Missing Teeth
A dental bridge is designed to replace one or more missing teeth, improving the ability to speak and chew with ease, while rejuvenating the aesthetics of the smile. By creating artificial teeth that are bonded to crowns on both ends, Dr. Wayde Fawcett—our Houston dentist—can provide a fixed solution for missing teeth that can complete your smile and reduce the risk of future oral health problems. A non-surgical alternative to dental implants, dental bridges can provide a durable, cost-effective method of tooth replacement, preventing the development of more serious dental issues and restoring the full function of your teeth.
“Dr. Fawcett and his team are the best! They are extraordinarily “people” focused. Dr. Fawcett is always on the cutting edge of technology. I appreciate their care and attention to details!”
What Are the Benefits of Dental Bridges?
The gaps missing teeth leave behind can become much more serious than simply a cosmetic concern. Spaces in your smile can:
- Negatively impact your ability to chew
- Imbalance and weaken your bite
- Increase the risk of gum infection and tooth decay
- Cause the adjacent teeth to shift position
- Lead to a change in your facial features
With the placement of a dental bridge, these concerns can be resolved. In addition, most of our patients find their dental bridge looks and feels just like their natural teeth. The porcelain material used to make your dental bridge is customized to match the color of the adjacent teeth and blend seamlessly with your smile.
Am I a Good Candidate for a Dental Bridge?
Dental bridges can fill the gap left by one or more adjacent missing teeth for a full, natural-looking smile. In addition to affecting the smile’s appearance, missing teeth can impact your ability to chew and/or speak properly. Patients with a missing tooth who want to restore full dental form and function may be good candidates for dental bridges. In some cases, a dental bridge can also be used to replace severely damaged or decayed teeth requiring extraction. Ideal candidates for dental bridges will have good overall periodontal health and have two strong teeth surrounding the gap to support the bridge.
Is a Dental Bridge Better than a Dental Implant?
Some patients choose a bridge as an alternative to dental implants; however, the right option for you will depend on your dental needs, cosmetic goals, health, and budget. Dental implants require a surgical procedure to place the implant posts, and adequate jawbone density in order for the implants to successfully fuse with bone tissue. Patients without sufficient jawbone density or who do not meet the physical health requirements for the procedure may find that a dental bridge can better suit their needs. In addition, dental implants typically have a much higher upfront price tag compared to a dental bridge, which can cost less and may be partially covered by dental insurance.
Types of Dental Bridges
At the Fawcett Center for Dentistry, we offer three main types of dental bridges:
Fixed Dental Bridge
A fixed dental bridge is the most common type of bridge used to replace a missing or severely damaged tooth. For this type of bridge, two dental crowns are attached to the teeth bracketing the gap left behind by the tooth or adjacent teeth. A replacement tooth or series of bonded replacement teeth, called a pontic, is then attached and held in place by these two crowns for a secure fit.
Maryland Dental Bridge
A Maryland bridge is typically used to replace the front teeth. This type of bridge uses a pontic with a metal band that extends from either side. These bands are then bonded to the adjacent teeth to hold the pontic in place. Finally, the metal bands are covered in a thin tooth-colored resin for a natural-looking appearance.
Cantilever Dental Bridge
A cantilever dental bridge is most commonly used when a patient needs to replace a missing or severely damaged tooth in the back of the mouth where there are only natural teeth on one side of the space. In these cases, two dental crowns are placed on the two teeth closest to the space, providing support for an extending pontic.
What Can I Expect During the Dental Bridge Procedure?
Most often, a dental bridge will consist of an artificial tooth (or teeth) fused between two dental crowns. The crowns of the bridge are then attached to the natural teeth adjacent to the gap, giving you a securely bonded restoration that can rejuvenate the function and the aesthetics of the teeth. The dental bridge procedure is typically completed in two office visits; one visit to plan the procedure and prep the adjacent teeth, and a second visit to attach the bridge after it has been manufactured by the dental laboratory. Afterward, you can speak, chew, and smile with renewed confidence.
If you would like more information on dental bridges, or if you would like to schedule an appointment with Dr. Fawcett, please contact the Fawcett Center for Dentistry.