A dental bridge is an artificial piece that is meant to span and fill a gap of one or more missing teeth. A dental bridge serves to prevent remaining teeth from collapsing in and allows patients to restore oral functions such as chewing, eating, and speaking. Dental bridges are typically supported by two crowns on either side of the missing teeth. However, at Dr. Clint Newman’s cosmetic dentistry practice, patients have two options to consider. Our Nashville patients receiving dental bridges may have the bridge supported by dental crowns or, if they are candidates, they can choose to have the bridge supported by dental implants.
Crown-supported BridgesBefore implant technology was available, all patients receiving a dental bridge had the pontic (or center piece) supported by a dental crown on either side. This is still the primary method of supporting dental bridges at many dental practices.
A crown-supported dental bridge offers adequate and stable support for a dental bridge. However, it does require that the two teeth on either end of the dental gap be altered. The two teeth (one on each side of the missing tooth or teeth) will be filed down in order to accommodate a dental crown. The dental bridge (which is a solid artificial tooth that is fabricated to resemble the tooth that is missing) will then be anchored to these two dental crowns. The primary advantages of a crown-supported bridge are the improved function and aesthetics. The biggest disadvantage of this form of treatment is the necessity to alter two healthy teeth.
Implant-supported BridgesUsing the latest implant technology, Dr. Newman is able to offer his patients an alternate form of dental bridges treatment. Rather than altering two healthy teeth in order to place crowns, Dr. Newman can place dental implants at the site of the missing tooth or teeth. These dental implants can then support a dental bridge that will fill the gap.
Dental implants are surgically implanted screws that bond with the jaw bone and act as tooth roots. Attached to dental implants are metal abutments, which stick out above the gum line and attach to dental restorations, in this case, a dental bridge. The main advantages of dental implants is that they offer superior support, are long-lasting, improve the function and aesthetics of the teeth, and, because they stimulate the jaw bone, they prevent long-term bone loss, which is a common side effect of tooth loss. The main disadvantage of dental implants is that they require oral surgery for placement and are, therefore, more costly and time consuming than crown-supported dental bridges.