Which Type Of Bridge Is Right For You?
If you're missing teeth, a bridge can help fill in the gaps. This restores your full smile, giving your teeth a better appearance. It also helps correct bite issues, making it easier to chew and preventing surrounding teeth from slipping into the space created by your missing teeth. Talk to a local dentist (such as David Semrau, DDS) for help making a final decision on which type of bridge is best for your personal situation.
A traditional bridge is very strong and well-suited for back molars that undergo a lot of stress from biting and chewing. You'll need to have crowns placed on the teeth on each side of the bridge before your dentist will place it, and your dentist might need to reshape your natural teeth before placing the crowns to make room for the bridge. These bridges can also attach to implants on either side, so they can be a good choice if you're missing several teeth, or if the teeth on either side of the space are badly damaged since your dentist can replace them with crowns that rest on dental implants (posts that anchor directly into your jaw).
Maryland Bonded Bridge
If you're missing a single tooth, your dentist might suggest a Maryland bonded bridge. This type of bridge doesn't require much tooth restructuring on either side since the bridge clips to the adjacent teeth with small tooth-colored wings.
A cantilever bridge is another option if you're missing a single tooth, though they're far less common than Maryland bonded bridges. The difference between a bonded bridge and a cantilever bridge is that a cantilever attaches to a natural tooth on only one side of the missing tooth. This means they're not as strong as other types of bridges, so many dentists avoid using them.
A removable bridge is also referred to as a partial denture. This type of bridge is made out a gum-colored material that has an artificial tooth or teeth attached. It's easy to care for since you can remove it for brushing. While a removable bridge can work for replacing a single tooth, it's usually a better choice for people who are missing multiple teeth unless the placement or condition of the neighboring teeth would make placing a non-removable difficult. A downside to a removable bridge is that it's easier to break since it can easily fall into the sink or on the floor when you take it out for cleaning.