Dental Bridges: What Are They and Who Needs Them?

Despite your best efforts to maintain the health of your teeth, it’s very likely that you will lose at least one or two of them during your lifetime. Tooth loss is extremely common, with as many 178 million Americans missing at least one tooth. The effects of a missing tooth can vary depending on where the gap in your mouth is. Some people will find it harder to talk, chew, and eat, and if the missing tooth is near the front of your mouth, it may affect how you feel about your smile and general appearance. The more teeth you are missing, the greater the impact is likely to be.


Fortunately, there are a variety of different tooth loss solutions available that mean that you don’t need to live with the effects of missing teeth. One of the most popular is a dental bridge.


What is a Dental Bridge?


As the name suggests, a dental bridge is a dental device that literally bridges the gap that is left by a missing tooth. A dental bridge contains one or sometimes two false teeth (depending on the size of your gap and whether you have two adjacent missing teeth), and these sit in the empty space in your mouth. On either side of these false teeth are two dental crowns. These will sit over the top of neighboring healthy teeth and will be used to secure the bridge in place. A bridge is permanent, which means that once it is fixed, you cannot remove it. Instead, your false teeth will enable your mouth to function fully and normally again.


One of the main things to consider when choosing a dental bridge is that the surrounding healthy teeth which will be used to secure it (called abutment teeth) will need to be prepared to support the bridge. This means filing down some of the natural tooth enamel. However, once this has been done the natural enamel doesn’t regrow and so these teeth will always require crowns to be placed over them.


With proper care and regular visits to your dentist, a dental bridge will typically last around a decade before any maintenance or replacement is required. However, the life of a bridge really does depend on the individual.


Who Needs a Dental Bridge?


Generally, most people who have at least one missing tooth could be a good candidate for a dental bridge. However, each patient much be assessed for their suitability for this treatment on a case-by-case basis. You may be a good candidate if you:


  • Are missing between one and three consecutive teeth

  • Have generally good oral health with no outstanding dental work

  • Do not have any gum disease

  • Have healthy teeth on either side of the bridge (or one side in the case of a cantilever bridge) which can be used to support the device


Your dentist will be able to advise you if a dental bridge is the most appropriate tooth loss solution for your teeth and smile.



To find out more, or to make an appointment to discuss a dental bridge, please contact our experienced and knowledgeable dental team at Tulane Family Dentistry in New Orleans, Louisiana at (504) 226-5740.

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