The good news about modern dentistry is that you have choices for treating nearly any condition, including tooth loss. For instance, dental bridges and dentures offer excellent solutions for replacing lost teeth, depending on the pattern and severity of your condition. Your dentist will help you decide which is the better option, given your specific needs. But knowing the difference between the two will help you better understand why they’re important to saving your smile.
Dental bridges are most appropriate for patients who’ve lost a single tooth, or more than one tooth in a row. An appropriate number of replacements, or pontics, make up the center of the bridge, with supportive crowns attached on either side. The crowns are secured to the healthy teeth that remain next to the lost ones, providing sturdy support for your replacement teeth as you bite, chew, speak, and smile.
When you’ve lost teeth that aren’t next to each other, a dental bridge won’t suffice to replace them all. Instead, your dentist can design a partial denture that fits around the teeth that remain, with pontics where needed. Unlike a full denture, a partial is created to not only replace lost teeth, but offer stability to the ones that remain so you have a better chance at preserving them.
For many patients, dental bridges and dentures can be supported by an appropriate number of dental implants – prosthetic roots that anchor replacement teeth the way roots anchor natural teeth. Regardless of how many teeth you’ve lost, dental implants offer the most comprehensive long-term benefits when it comes to rebuilding your smile.