Do you or someone you know hold their hand in front of their face when they smile or talk because they’re embarrassed about a missing tooth? You’re not alone.
An estimated 178 million Americans are missing at least one tooth, and 40 million are missing all of their natural teeth. Aside from the logical ramifications like not being able to eat or chew your food properly, missing teeth can cause a wide range of problems like slurred speech, shifting of the surrounding natural teeth, bite issues and bone loss. Over time, missing teeth can even lead to jawbone loss that may result in distorting your face.
Fortunately, your smile can be restored using an oral prosthetic called a dental bridge which is designed to fill the space between your natural teeth.
As its name suggests the purpose of a dental bridge is to replace or “bridge” the space between one or more missing teeth. The missing tooth or teeth are often replaced by two or more crowns on either side of the empty space and are anchored either by the neighboring healthy, natural teeth or an implant.
Our skilled dentists at Union Square Dental want to provide you with the 411 on the four types of dental bridges.
The most common dental bridge is called a traditional bridge. This type of dental bridge is an ideal solution for patients with only one missing tooth. The components of a traditional dental bridge are an artificial tooth called a pontic and two dental crowns that are adhered to the healthy teeth on either side of the gap.
The basic principle of the traditional bridge is used in the Maryland dental bridge. The difference is that instead of anchoring the bridge with two dental crowns on either side of the gap, this type of bridge uses a metal framework which we bond to the back of the healthy teeth on either side. This technique is sometimes preferred when replacing missing front teeth.
Although not as common as traditional or Maryland dental bridges, we may recommend a cantilever dental bridge if you’re missing more than one tooth -- especially if there are healthy neighboring teeth on only one side of the missing tooth.
The cantilever dental bridge only needs one point of contact to anchor it. Instead of adhering the bridge to two crowns to healthy neighboring teeth on either side of the gap, we bond a cantilever bridge to one crown.
Implant-supported dental bridges are commonly used when a patient is missing three or more teeth in a row. In this case, a highly stable and more permanent solution is required. With implant-supported dental bridges, the anchor points are dental implants. Implants are small metal posts that are surgically implanted in your jawbone.
In order for an implant-supported bridge to be a viable option, the neighboring teeth, your jawbone, and your gums must be strong and healthy.
If you’re missing one or multiple teeth and are ready to restore your smile, contact our friendly staff at Union Square Dental to learn if dental bridges are right for you. Our office is located in the Flatiron District of Manhattan in New York City. Request an appointment today by calling 212-675-7877.