When tooth loss occurs, gaps in your smile can not only hurt your confidence, but impair your ability to chew and speak normally. Our Denver practice offers a number of teeth replacement options that can restore a full smile with natural-looking and functional oral appliances. Two common treatment options are a dental bridge or partial dentures. Depending on your situation, you may be considering both options. Below, learn more about bridges and partials, and which one that will fit your mouth and lifestyle the best.
Looking for restorative dentistry services in Denver, CO? Metropolitan Dental Care, located in the heart of downtown Denver, has offered complete restorative care for teeth and gums since 1983. If you’re looking for a dental practice with a legacy of dependable, high quality care, contact us today!
What is a dental bridge?
Dental bridges get their name from their “bridge-like” structure; the process of placing a dental bridge is not unlike building a real bridge. For this tooth replacement solution, a patient must have at least one to two remaining natural teeth on the top or bottom jaw where the bridge will be placed. Dental crowns will rest atop one or two supportive teeth while artificial teeth (pontics) fill the space in your smile. Once placed, bridges are fixed structures, and can only be removed by your dentist when it comes time to replace or repair the structure.
Several bridge designs exist, including traditional, cantilever, Maryland, or implant-supported bridges. Your dentist will decide the bridge design that best suits your restorative needs.
What are partial dentures?
Often referred to simply as “partials,” partial dentures are a removable tooth replacement option, which offers the patient the flexibility to remove and clean the appliance as needed. Similar to dental bridges, partial dentures require at least one natural tooth to use as a supportive base. They also contain one or more artificial teeth to replace the gaps in a patient’s smile, as well as a plastic base made to match gum tissue for a more natural appearance. A network of metal or plastic connectors and clasps “locks” the partial into place around the supportive tooth, to keep the appliance from slipping while eating or speaking.
Which is the best treatment for me?
While your dentist can explain additional advantages or disadvantages of each treatment method, some general points can be made about both methods, which can help you begin to weigh the pros and cons that are important to you.
Partial dentures are usually a better option for patients who have suffered more extensive gum tissue or tooth loss, and lack the tooth strength for a fixed bridge. Additionally, some patients prefer partials because they can be easily removed for at-home cleaning. However, these restorations only last, on average, five years before requiring replacement. For those looking for a long-term restoration, partial dentures’ shorter lifespan can be a drawback.
Dental bridges, however, last up to 15 years, and sometimes longer, depending on the design and location of the appliance. Some patients find bridges have a more seamless look and feel, and prefer having a fixed appliance that cannot be removed at home.
Dental bridges are not suited for every patient, though: to receive treatment, the remaining natural teeth must be healthy enough to support the restorative framework. You can expect to pay more for a bridge treatment, too, due to their increased durability compared to partials.
Contact Your Denver, CO Dentist Today
If you want more information on tooth restoration, contact Metropolitan Dental Care. Our experienced Denver dentists can help you decide the treatment that will effectively restore your smile with the functionality and cost that fits your lifestyle. Call us at 303.534.2626.