Bridge Or Partial Dentures: Tips For Choosing The Best Dental Replacement For You

A tooth lost to decay or trauma needs to be replaced to prevent bite issues, keep jawbone and gums healthy, and to improve your self-confidence. There are several dental replacement options available but two of the more affordable and time efficient options are dental bridges and partial dentures.

How do you decide what dental replacement option is best for you? You should discuss your choices with your cosmetic dentistry specialist during the next office visit, but in the meantime, here are the pros and cons of bridges and partial dentures to consider.

Dental Bridge: Quick Installation, Require More Healthy Teeth

A dental bridge includes two artificial tooth caps that will fit over natural teeth to provide stability for an artificial tooth. The caps can either sit on each side of the artificial tooth or both caps can sit on one side of the artificial tooth. The former option provides more stability while the latter might be necessary if there isn't a tooth present on both sides of the missing tooth gap.

Your dentist will need to make a mold of your teeth to create the caps that will bond over the outside of your natural teeth. But you should receive your entire dental bridge application in the next appointment so this is a good choice for those who don't want to keep a lot of dental appointments.

Dental bridges do require at least two healthy teeth next to the missing tooth gap. If you have multiple missing teeth, a bridge most likely won't work for you. And if there are teeth present but those teeth are in bad shape, your dentist will need to fix those teeth before going through with the bridge.

Partial Dentures: Removable, Require Longer Treatment Period

Partial dentures are a series of artificial teeth attached to a plate that sits down over your gums. There can be numerous holes in the plate to allow natural teeth to stick through. Each end of the plate has a hook that fits around the natural teeth at the ends to keep the dentures from sliding around too much.

A partial denture that's held in place only by the hooks, meaning there aren't also natural teeth poking through for stability, can slide around a bit while chewing. The sliding can end up causing gum abrasions.

Receiving dentures also requires several visits to the dentist for molds, fittings, and additional fittings down the line if and when the teeth shift.

Partial dentures might still be the best option if you are missing multiple teeth staggered around natural teeth in a layout that wouldn't make dental bridges practical.