Missing teeth can really affect your confidence but, thanks to developments in restorative dentistry, there are now two great solutions to this problem. Bridges and dentures both offer a way to solve the problem of missing teeth – they can not only help boost your self image but correct problems with bite too. But which is the best option for you?
A bridge is a way of filling a gap in teeth by using existing teeth or implants around the gap to cement the artificial tooth in place. There are many good reason for choosing a bridge, for example bridges are a more permanent solution and there is no danger of them falling out. Bridges can last from between five and 15 years, often much longer, so once they are in place you can almost forget about them. They must be cleaned every day – including under the false tooth – to prevent problems such as gum disease and bad breath.
Dentures offer a more flexible solution to missing teeth – a removable plate with artificial teeth attached that fits over the gums to replace those teeth that are no longer there. Dentures can be removed over night and must also be regularly cleaned and cared for to avoid build up of stains or scale. Dentures come in two types – plastic and metal. Plastic dentures are cheaper but metal dentures tend to be stronger. Although mental dentures are made from an alloy of cobalt and chromium, they also have gum coloured plastic and false teeth designed to look natural so the metal is not visible.
What’s the difference?
The main difference between these two types of restorative dentistry is that dentures are removable whereas a bridge is not. A bridge is fitted to your mouth permanently whereas dentures are usually removed every night and then used once again the next day. Another difference between these two options is that a bridge may require some extraction work to prepare the mouth before it is fitted, whereas this is not usually the case with dentures. Bridge work is only an option for those who have strong existing teeth and/or good bone support so that there is something to attach the bridge to.
How do I choose?
The first step is to discuss your needs with your dentist and establish whether you have strong enough teeth and bone support that a bridge is an option, or whether dentures are the best choice. If both are available you can look at factors such as whether you want false teeth that are removable, whether you are willing to go through tooth extraction and healing (there may be a delay of three to six months between extractions and bridge fitting) and what kind of care routine you can sustain. For more information on bridges and dentures, and help making your choice, contact a member of our team.