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The Impact of Missing Teeth on Oral Health and How Dental Bridges Help

Posted by Kyle Koski May 27, 2024

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Missing teeth can significantly impact oral health, leading to problems such as shifting adjacent teeth, bite misalignment, and increased risk of tooth decay and gum disease due to difficulty in maintaining proper oral hygiene. Additionally, missing teeth can cause jawbone deterioration, as the bone lacks the necessary stimulation to maintain its density and structure. Dental bridges provide an effective solution by filling the gaps left by missing teeth, restoring proper bite function, preventing adjacent teeth from shifting, and preserving the face's natural shape. By bridging these gaps, dental bridges help maintain oral health, improve aesthetics, and enhance overall quality of life.  

The Different Types of Dental Bridges   

Traditional Dental Bridges  

Traditional dental bridges are the most common bridge used to replace one or more missing teeth. This type of bridge consists of a false tooth or teeth (pontic) held in place by dental crowns cemented onto the adjacent healthy teeth (abutment teeth). These crowns act as anchors to secure the bridge firmly in place. Traditional bridges are typically made from materials such as porcelain fused to metal, ceramic, or metal alloys. They are especially durable and strong, making them suitable for replacing molars with significant chewing forces. However, a significant drawback is that the procedure requires the healthy adjacent teeth to be filed down to accommodate the crowns, which can weaken these teeth over time.  

Cantilever Dental Bridges  

Cantilever dental bridges are similar to traditional bridges but differ in one critical aspect: they are supported by a crown on only one side of the missing tooth. This type of bridge is used when adjacent teeth are on only one side of the gap. Like traditional bridges, cantilever bridges can be made from porcelain fused to metal, ceramic, or metal alloys. They are often used in areas of the mouth with less chewing pressure, such as the front teeth. The main advantage of cantilever bridges is that they require only one abutment tooth to be altered. However, this design can create a lever effect that may lead to complications such as fractured crowns or loose bridges, mainly if used in high-stress areas of the mouth.  

Maryland Bonded Bridges (Resin-Bonded Bridges)  

Maryland bonded or resin-bonded bridges offer a more conservative approach than traditional and cantilever bridges. These bridges use a metal or porcelain framework bonded to the backs of the adjacent natural teeth, thus preserving more of the natural tooth structure. The pontic is attached to the framework without the need for crowns. Maryland bridges are often used to replace front teeth due to their minimal invasiveness and the fact that they are less likely to withstand the high pressures of chewing in the back of the mouth. While this type of bridge is less durable, and the bonding can weaken over time, leading to potential detachment, it is preferred for patients who want to avoid significant alteration of their adjacent teeth.  

Implant-Supported Bridges  

Implant-supported bridges represent a modern and robust solution for replacing multiple missing teeth. Instead of being supported by natural teeth, these bridges are anchored by dental implants surgically placed into the jawbone. Each implant serves as a root replacement, providing a stable foundation for the bridge. Implant-supported bridges can be made from high-quality materials like porcelain or ceramic to ensure a natural look and feel. The primary benefits include their durability and the preservation of jawbone health, as implants stimulate bone growth and prevent bone loss. The process, however, is more invasive and requires a longer treatment time, including surgery and healing periods. Implant-supported bridges also come at a higher cost, but their longevity and stability often make them a worthwhile investment for many patients.  

The Connection Between Dental Bridges and Bone Health  

  • Dental bridges do not directly contribute to jawbone preservation as they rely on adjacent teeth for support rather than stimulating the underlying bone tissue.  

  • Without tooth roots or dental implants to stimulate the jawbone, the area of the missing tooth may gradually deteriorate over time, a process known as resorption.  

  • Bone loss in the jaw can lead to changes in facial appearance, including a sunken or aged appearance due to decreased bone volume and support.  

  • Significant bone loss can compromise the stability and longevity of dental bridges, as the supporting teeth may become weakened or compromised over time due to a lack of adequate bone support.  

  • Unlike traditional bridges, implant-supported bridges integrate with the jawbone, providing stimulation that helps preserve bone density and prevent resorption. This can contribute to better long-term oral health and maintain facial aesthetics.  

 

Missing teeth can have far-reaching consequences for oral health, affecting dental function and overall well-being. Visit Koski DePaul Dental Group at 5564 Wilson Mills Rd. #101 #102, Highland Heights, OH 44143, or call (440) 461-9600  to determine if dental bridges are the right solution for you. 

 

 

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