Am I a Dental Bridge Candidate?
By J. Brent Gorrell on September 03, 2017
Professional dental care, along with strong oral hygiene habits, helps to preserve the strength and health of the teeth. Unfortunately, despite a person’s best efforts, there are many factors that can diminish tooth strength and ultimately lead to tooth loss. Tooth loss has a dramatic effect on the smile, even if just one tooth or a small set of teeth is lost.
Fortunately, restorative dentistry treatments can rebuild a damaged smile by correcting oral health problems or replacing missing teeth. While there are several missing teeth treatments for patients to consider, here, we focus on the dental bridge. A dental bridge is a restoration that is designed to replicate the natural teeth in aesthetics, form, and function. Following tooth loss, Dr. J. Brent Gorrell is happy to help patients determine if they are ideal dental bridge candidates at his Mountain View, CA dental practice.
Dental Bridge Techniques
Any patient who has lost between one and three adjacent teeth, and who is free of gum disease or other oral health problems is likely to be an ideal candidate for a dental bridge. However, there are two types of dental bridge treatments available: a traditional bridge and a fixed bridge. Each of these procedures is slightly different and requires a unique set of patient characteristics for the success of treatment.
A traditional dental bridge is one that is secured on either side by a dental crown. The two teeth directly adjacent to either side of the gap are reshaped and fitted with dental crowns. The crowns are bonded to the pontic piece of the bridge, which is the piece designed to replicate the missing tooth or teeth.
A fixed dental bridge is anchored down by dental implants. The dental implants are surgically placed in the jawbone where they will fuse with the jaw’s bone and tissues. Once the implants are secure, they will be attached to abutments, which are small metal posts that protrude slightly above the gum line. The abutments and implants can be used in place of dental crowns to bond a dental bridge in place.
Traditional Bridge Candidates
The primary concern when determining candidacy for a traditional dental bridge is the health of the adjacent teeth. Since the adjacent teeth will be supporting the dental bridge, it is extremely important that these two teeth are strong and healthy. If there are any signs of oral health problems, including decay or infection, they will need to be treated before the patient can proceed with dental bridge treatment. Once a bridge has been placed, we do not want it to be compromised by dental complications related to the supporting teeth.
Fixed Bridge Candidates
The treatment process for a fixed bridge is more complicated than that of a traditional bridge, but it offers superior comfort and security. As with a traditional bridge, any fixed bridge candidate must be free of oral health problems, including infection and gum disease. Since dental implants need to successfully fuse with the jawbone to provide ample support to dental restorations, it is also important that fixed bridge candidates have adequate bone tissue. Over time, tooth loss can lead to jawbone degeneration. In cases such as these, patients can either undergo a bone graft to strengthen the jawbone, or consider a traditional dental bridge instead.
When tooth loss occurs, it is important to find a restorative treatment that will rebuild oral strength and restore oral functions, while taking into account each patient’s unique dental needs. If you’d like to learn more about traditional and fixed dental bridges, or the other missing teeth treatments offered at Dr. J. Brent Gorrell’s dental practice, contact us at your earliest convenience.
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“I moved out of the area 20 years ago and happily drive 40 miles to still see Dr. Gorrell. Best dentist ever.” Kevin B.