Tooth loss is an extremely common problem among adults around the United States. Sometimes, tooth loss occurs as the result of injury or trauma; other times, teeth fall out due to severe decay or advanced gum disease known as periodontitis. Whatever the reason, tooth loss is unpleasant to live with for a variety of reasons. Adults who suffer from tooth loss often report feeling a loss of self-esteem based on their appearance. The effects of missing teeth go far beyond aesthetics, though. Bone loss in the face and compromised nutrition are two possible impacts of untreated tooth loss.
What is a Dental Bridge?
Fortunately, there are many treatment options available today for patients who suffer from tooth loss. One of those options is a dental bridge. A dental bridge is composed of crowns on either side of the gap where the missing tooth used to be; these crowns serve as anchors. Between the anchor teeth– filling the gap– is a false tooth (or teeth). The replacement tooth is often made of porcelain but can also be composed of gold, alloys, or a combination of these materials.
Even though dental bridges are a reliable and time-tested treatment option for tooth loss, many patients are still hesitant to take the plunge. Often, this hesitation is the result of widespread misconceptions surrounding dental bridges.
Dental Bridges: Myths vs. Facts
Myth: A bridge is essentially the same thing as dentures.
Fact: Bridges and dentures are both treatment options for patients suffering from tooth loss. While both options involve false teeth, their similarities end there. Bridges are permanent; crowns are used as anchors to hold the replacement tooth or teeth in place. They are not removable. Dentures, on the other hand, are removable; in fact, dentures are taken out of the mouth for brushing and cleaning.
Myth: Dental bridges don’t look natural.
Fact: Many patients fear that the false teeth in the bridge will look unnatural and, thus, will be obvious to other people. Dental technology, however, has come a long way in recent years. Today, replacement teeth can be made to look like your natural teeth in both size and color.
Myth: Bridges fall out easily.
Fact: There’s a common misconception circulating that dental bridges aren’t sturdy and will eventually fall out. While bridges do sometimes loosen over time, they can easily be tightened by your dentist. However, they’re built to last a lifetime, so the chances of your bridge falling out are miniscule. A simple way you can reduce the chances of your bridge loosening or falling out is by practicing good oral hygiene.
Myth: Dental bridges aren’t affordable.
Fact: In the past, a dental bridge was considered solely cosmetic. Thus, insurance companies didn’t typically offer coverage, leaving patients to pay out-of-pocket. Fortunately, these days have mostly passed. Because tooth loss negatively impacts the remaining teeth, many insurance companies no longer view dental bridges as strictly cosmetic. For this reason, bridges are now at least partially covered by most insurance carriers.
Myth: It’s hard to eat with a dental bridge.
Fact: On the contrary, it’s actually quite difficult to eat with missing teeth. Because of this, patients typically find it much easier to eat– and speak– with their dental bridges in place. Of course, there will likely be a short adjustment period post-treatment. As the patient gets used to the new bridge, though, eating and speaking will come as easily as it did with natural teeth.
Are you ready to have a smile that you’re proud to show the world? Contact us today to discuss which of our restorative treatment options is the right fit for your needs.