The style of bridge we suggest will depend upon the strength and health of the abutment teeth as well as the location of the gap in relation to the rest of your dentition.
Traditional bridges are what you probably think of when you think of a bridge. They’re removable and consist of a restoration with fake teeth that clasps onto your natural teeth. These usually don’t give you back much of your bite function. You risk them breaking if you’re biting into something hard. They have to be taken out overnight to reduce the stress on your teeth and cleaned in a specific way to ensure that they’re cleaned properly.
A dental bridge attaches to two anchor teeth on either side of the restoration. However, these natural teeth take on a lot of stress when they’re supporting a bridge. Anchor teeth wear down faster and have a higher risk of developing tooth decay or fracturing. We usually recommend stabilizing these anchor teeth with dental crowns. Crowns protect the natural teeth and take on the brunt of the stress of supporting the restoration.
A fixed dental bridge stays in your mouth, and you don’t remove it. Fixed dental bridges are more stable, and you get more of your bite function back. Crowned natural teeth can support these bridges, but they can also be supported with dental implants. Supporting a bridge with implants requires nothing of your natural teeth. Even when natural teeth have crowns on them, a significant amount of natural tooth structure needs to be removed to make room for the crown.
With a fixed bridge, you’re able to follow your normal oral health routine. You can brush your teeth as you normally would. Flossing is normal, too, with a few exceptions. We’ll educate you and give you specialized tools if necessary to ensure you can floss under your bridge and ensure everything is properly cleaned. With dental implants, you’ll get back full bite function and don’t have to change your diet.
If you have questions about dental crowns, dental bridges, or any other restorative treatment, contact our Northern Virginia dental office in Reston or schedule a consultation online. We will be happy to discuss your treatment options and schedule a thorough oral evaluation.