According to the American College of Prosthodontists, more than 120 million people are missing at least one tooth. If you’re one of these millions of people, various tooth-replacement options are available to you. Two of the most common option are a dental bridge and a partial denture.
Both dental bridges and partial dentures will stop your teeth from shifting, improve your ability to chew and talk, and improve the appearance of your smile and face shape. However, they differ in upkeep, function, and the amount of improvement a patient will experience.
To discover which option is best for your smile, continue reading this blog and schedule an initial consultation with your dentist.
A traditional dental bridge, which is sometimes called a fixed partial denture, is made up of two abutment teeth with one or more prosthetics (or pontics) in between. The two natural teeth on either side of your gap are shaved down so the abutment teeth can be permanently placed on top and the pontic hangs in the space.
Other dental bridge options include the cantilever bridge, Maryland bridge, and an implant-supported bridge. These all function the same but meet different patient needs. Discuss with your dentist which option is best for your smile.
Whichever option you choose, the abutment teeth and pontics are all designed to match the shape and color of your natural teeth to create a cohesive appearance.
Pros and Cons
Dental bridges are one of the most popular tooth replacement options because they are aesthetically pleasing, comfortable, long-lasting, and easy to maintain. However, dental bridges aren’t the perfect solution. The disadvantages of dental bridges include:
- Altering the healthy, neighboring teeth
- Jawbone atrophy
- Risk of failure due to weak abutment teeth
For most dentists and patients, the advantages of dental bridges outweigh the disadvantages. If you’re wondering about other options, ask your dentist about dental implants.
Candidacy for Dental Bridges
Suitable candidates for dental bridges have good oral and overall health. This means they are clear of gum disease, have strong teeth, and have sufficient jawbone density.
If a patient has periodontal issues, the dentist can provide gum treatments to get their oral health back on track before placing a dental bridge. Dental implants may be an option for those with insufficient jawbone density.
The biggest difference between a dental bridge and partial denture is that a bridge only replaces teeth that are adjacent to each other. Another major difference is that a partial is removable. It’s easiest to think of these as a metal-framework retainer with prosthetic teeth and gum-colored plastic bases attached. Sometimes, partial dentures feature clips that connect the denture to your natural teeth instead of a metal framework.
Pros and Cons
Although partial dentures are considered more affordable and don’t require surgery, many patients prefer a dental bridge because of its permanency. Other disadvantages of removable partial dentures include:
- Negative affect on speech and function
- Reduces ability to taste
- Increases risk of mouth infections
- No jawbone support
Candidacy for Partial Dentures
Men and women who have lost only a few teeth are ideal candidates for partial dentures. The best candidates still have a sufficient amount of healthy gum tissue and jawbone to support the denture.
Schedule an Initial Consultation
To discuss your restorative dentistry options, contact a dentist near you today. Be sure the find a dentist will the expertise, experience, and qualifications needed to create your customized, picture-perfect smile.
Call (801) 923-6406 to meet with our caring and skilled Salt Lake City dentist today.