Garden Grove Dental Arts : Marianna Ibrahim DDS


A bridge too far? When a Dental Bridge Won’t Work

Learn how a dental bridge OR a dental implant can save your smile

Learn how a dental bridge OR a dental implant can save your smile

If you’ve ever lost a tooth or even come close to losing a tooth, there’ s a good chance you’ve given some thought about what it might take to fill the gap. For that, the dental world has developed a variety of solutions. One of the most popular options for replacing a tooth remains a dental bridge. But what happens when the bridge doesn’t quite reach far enough? That might be when a dental implant is selected as a superior option.

The major limitation with dental bridges (both traditional bridges and cantilever bridges) is that they rely on neighboring teeth that can be capped with crowns. However, this raises some concern if the neighboring teeth that would normally be crowned are perfectly healthy. If this is the case, a dental bridge normally wouldn’t be recommended for one simple reason: it’s a shame to purposfully damage healthy teeth in order to save an unhealthy tooth. The more naturally healthy and unaltered teeth you can retain – the better.

This is most frequently an issue with younger patients, who have only lost a single tooth and have a number of healthy teeth remaining, with good oral hygiene habits. When this is the case, a dental implant is often recommended as a good replacement for life.

This is but one reason why bridges tend to fall behind dental implants. As a story in the New York Times, A Dental Shift: Implants Instead of Bridges explains, most people who lose teeth are better suited for dental implants. As Dr. Lawrence J. Kessler of the University of Miami School of Medicine explains, “Bridges are not the standard of care anymore.”

This sentiment has become popular for a couple reasons. First, Implants don’t decay. On top of this, when the missing tooth is located next to healthy teeth, the healthy teeth don’t need to get crowned. And finally, implants tend to be slightly easier to maintain. Cleaning and flossing a dental implant is just like flossing or brushing your natural teeth. Better yet, the implant naturally protects the underlying bone of your jaw. Because of this, dental implants often help patients maintain healthy gums.

On the other hand, with a bridge, instead of involving a single tooth, the success of the bridge rests on the adjacent teeth as well. If one of the crowned teeth becomes undermined, the bridge and every tooth involved must be repaired, removed, or replaced.  With an implant, merely the prosthetic would be replaced.

Looking to learn more about dental bridges in Garden Grove? Our cosmetic dentists have the answers.

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