Not everyone needs a full set of permanent dentures. A dental bridge fills a gap created by one or more missing teeth. Removable partial dentures are another option for replacing missing teeth. There are several reasons to consider removable partial dentures. Not only can partial dentures improve your appearance, they can improve your oral health by keeping your remaining teeth in place. If you opt for a dental bridge, your dentist will fit customized crowns to the teeth on either side of the gap to be bridged. A false tooth (or teeth) called a pontic is attached to the crowns and replaces your missing tooth (or teeth).
Depending on your oral health care needs, you can choose partial dentures that are removable, but bridges are permanently cemented into place. There are three main types of bridges to suit a variety of dental restoration situations:
- Traditional: This style involves placing crowns on the teeth that border the missing teeth.
- Cantilever: This style is used if you only have teeth on one side of the missing tooth or teeth.
- Maryland bonded: This type of bridge consists of a porcelain tooth (or teeth) in a metal framework, with wings to attach it to existing teeth.
Keeping the surrounding, supporting teeth healthy is essential to get the maximum benefit from a dental bridge, so be sure to follow a regular oral care routine of twice-daily tooth brushing and daily flossing. If you practice good oral hygiene and see a dentist regularly, partial dentures can last from five to 15 years.