Do you have missing teeth? If so, it’s important to replace them as soon as possible. Not only will this improve the appearance of your smile, but it will also restore a fully functional bite. Failure to replace your missing teeth can lead to a wide range of oral health issues down the road. It’s much better to avoid these problems by choosing one of our tooth replacement options.
While dental implants are the most effective solution to replace missing teeth, they aren’t right for everyone. If you’re not a good dental implant candidate, dental bridges provide an excellent alternative. During your initial visit, Dr. Scott Greenhalgh will discuss your options in detail and recommend the right option for your unique needs and goals.
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If have one or more missing teeth, please call 303-988-9060 to schedule an appointment and receive individualized treatment recommendations. We serve patients in Lakewood, Denver and the surrounding areas of Colorado.
Why Do I Need to Replace Missing Teeth?
Some of the problems that may develop if you fail to replace missing teeth include:
- Remaining teeth will shift to fill in the gap, causing bite alignment issues that may include TMJ
- Increased risk of gum disease
- Bone deterioration in your jaw, which may lead to additional tooth loss down the road
- Sunken facial appearance which may make you look much older than you are
- Problems chewing and eating, which can lead to malnutrition from a restricted diet
Dental bridges can help you restore a fully functional bite and help you avoid many of these problems.
Traditional Dental Bridges
Traditional bridges consist of an artificial tooth (or two) attached to the two neighboring teeth with metal "wings." Those neighboring teeth are trimmed down to have dental crowns placed on them to support the bridge. The bridge is cemented in place and left permanently. A dental bridge can last from 5 to 20 years depending on how you care for it.
This same arrangement can also be done using all porcelain, with the artificial tooth (called a pontic) connected to its neighbors through porcelain attachments. This avoids that dark metal component in the mouth.
If you think of a cantilevered balcony, you will have a general idea of how a cantilevered bridge works. The balcony is held in place by its attachment to the building and needs no support from beneath. Similarly, a cantilevered bridge is held by its connection to adjacent teeth on one side only.
Cantilevered bridges are used for:
- Back teeth when there is no tooth on the other side
- Places where the neighboring teeth are strong enough to provide sufficient support for the bridge from only one side
Maryland Bonded Bridges
A Maryland bonded bridge is a minimally invasive option that uses a composite resin cement to hold the dental bridge in place. During the procedure, small slots are trimmed into the supporting teeth. The new bridge is then bonded to the back surfaces of adjacent teeth using dental resin.
Bonded bridges are more suited to front teeth which do not need a strong chewing surface. The main advantage is that the supporting teeth need only minimal trimming.
Implant-Supported Dental Bridges
Modern dental technology allows bridges to be securely anchored with dental implants. This option gives you a permanent, safe and healthy solution to any missing teeth you might have. With implant-supported dental bridges, Dr. Greenhalgh can combine the ease and convenience of traditional bridges with the strength and durability of dental implants. This provides an outstanding, long-term tooth replacement solution.
Implant-supported dental bridges are often an excellent option when you’re missing several teeth. The process is quite similar to the traditional placement of dental implants:
- We will implant several titanium support roots in the affected area
- We wait for your body to fully integrate the support rods into your jawbone; this process, known as osseointegration, provides much of the strength and durability associated with dental implants
- Finally, we place the dental bridges on “abutments” which are attached to the support rods
Implant-supported dental bridges offer a number of advantages over traditional bridges, including:
- There is no need to shave down remaining natural teeth
- Increased strength and durability
- More accurately simulates the look and feel of natural teeth
- Places no additional stress on remaining teeth
- Reverses the onset of decay in the jawbone