When a person has missing front teeth, it can significantly impact their appearance, confidence, and ability to perform essential functions like speaking and chewing. This can be a result of dental issues such as decay, trauma, or extraction. To restore the smile and functionality, one option is a dental bridge for front teeth.
Dental bridges are similar to partial dentures in that they are used to fill spaces with missing teeth. However, a dental bridge is a permanent tooth replacement solution that involves a false tooth, referred to as a pontic, being anchored to the teeth adjacent to the gap, known as abutments, via a crowns. The restoration cannot be removed once placed.
Two crowns are cemented to the natural teeth (abutment) on either side of the gap, attaching the pontic firmly in place of the absent tooth. This creates a seamless, natural-looking replacement for the missing front teeth.
Generally, any person with one or several missing teeth can opt for a bridge, though the surrounding teeth and gum tissue must be in good health, because they form the foundation for the replacement prosthetic.
Bridges do not require oral surgery, which makes them a great alternative for individuals who are afraid of going through oral surgery in dental implant procedures.
While the supporting teeth are adjusted to receive abutment crowns, no gum or bone tissue drilling is necessary for bridge placement.
Dental bridge for front teeth: Before and After
A dental bridge for front teeth is a popular option to restore both the aesthetic appeal and functionality of the smile.
It can result in significant positive changes, but you mist consult with your dentist first to determine if a dental bridge is the right solution for your specific needs, and to help you achieve the desired before and after transformation.
During the initial consultation, your dentist will evaluate the condition of your mouth, take impressions, and discuss your preferences or expectations.
Once the bridge is custom-made in a dental laboratory, you will then return to the dentist’s office for the placement procedure.
The result can be as in the images below:
Before and after dental bridge procedure (Source: Austin Cosmetic)
4 types of dental bridges
There are several types of bridges that patients can choose from, though it is best to ask your dentist to help you find the right one for you.
- Traditional Fixed Bridge: it is the most popularly type of bridge, and comprises two prosthetic crowns, anchored on adjacent teeth or implants, on both sides of the pontic, to support the dental bridgework.
- Maryland Bonded Bridge or resin-bonded bridges: These comprise plastic teeth and gums held in place by wings or a metal framework, which is then bonded to the back of neighboring teeth using resin. This bridge is used when there is a gap in the front teeth, or in instances where the teeth adjacent to the gap are healthy and strong.
- Cantilever Bridges: as the name suggests, they false tooth is supported by one or several adjacent teeth on only one side. They are used in areas that are susceptible to low stress, with teeth on one side of the gap.
- Implant-supported bridges: They are anchored to implanted teeth instead of a natural teeth.
Dental materials for bridgework
Different materials can be used to fabricate the pontic, including:
- All porcelain offer a natural look, though they are not very strong, which makes them ideal for front teeth replacements.
- Porcelain fused to metal, offer more strength, are colored, and typically used on back teeth.
- Gold, silver and alloys offer a great fit, more strength, and durability than the others, though they do not offer that natural appearance.
Reasons to get Dental Bridges
Missing teeth can have a huge impact on the functionality and appearance of your smile. Without something to fill the gaps, remaining teeth can easily shift their position and alter your occlusion or bite, resulting in jaw pain, speech impediment, temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ), increased susceptibility to periodontal disease, and frequent headaches.
There are many reasons why you should fill spaces between your teeth. To begin with, a gap can interfere with your bite because the teeth adjacent to the space can lean into the gap, altering the way the upper and lower teeth bite together. This can in turn cause food to get packed into the gap, resulting in both decay and gum disease.
So, a dental bridge can prevent the teeth adjacent to the gap from drifting out of position and reduce the risk of tooth decay and periodontal disease. Other benefits include:
So, bridges help to:
- Restore a healthy bite for proper chewing
- Reduce strain on remaining teeth due to misaligned bite
- To distribute the forces in your bite proportionally
- Prevent gum disease and tooth decay because of food accumulating in the gap
- Maintain facial contours and preserve the shape of your face
- Improve your smile and appearance
- Restore self-confidence after an injury or accident
Benefits of dental bridge for front teeth
Your front teeth play a big role in both your appearance and function. Following a successful placement of the dental bridge, you can expect:
- Improved Smile: The most noticeable change is the restoration of a complete smile. The dental bridge fills the gap, giving a natural appearance and boosting self-confidence.
- Enhanced Speech: Missing front teeth can affect speech pronunciation. With the dental bridge in place, clarity of speech is often improved, allowing for better communication.
- Restored Biting Ability: Front teeth play a vital role in biting food. With the dental bridge, the ability to bite and chew is restored, enabling the enjoyment of a wider variety of foods.
- Natural Look and Feel: Modern dental bridges are designed to mimic the color, shape, and texture of natural teeth. They blend seamlessly with the remaining natural teeth, providing a natural look and feel.
- Facial Support: Front teeth play a crucial role in maintaining the facial structure. By replacing the missing teeth with a dental bridge, the support to the lips and cheeks is restored, preventing a sunken or aged appearance.
- Oral Health Preservation: Dental bridges not only replace missing teeth but also help maintain the alignment and stability of adjacent teeth. This can prevent dental issues like shifting teeth, bite problems, and jaw joint disorders.
That said, the success and longevity of dental bridges depend on proper oral hygiene practices, regular dental check-ups, and avoiding habits like biting on hard objects.
Dental bridge versus partial denture
The method that you use to replace missing teeth depends on:
- Number of missing teeth
- Position in your mouth
- Condition of other teeth
A fixed bridge is typically used when there are few teeth that need replacing, or when the gaps are on only side of the mouth. Otherwise, a partial denture – removable prosthetic tooth – is used.
While both dental prosthetic devices can be used to replace missing teeth, there are differences in their design, stability, cost, and impact on adjacent teeth:
- Fixed prosthesis that replaces one or more missing teeth.
- Consists of crowns placed on adjacent teeth (abutments) with a false tooth (pontic) in between.
- Offers excellent stability and functionality.
- Requires healthy abutment teeth for support.
- More expensive than partial dentures.
- Preserves the alignment of adjacent teeth.
- Provides a natural-looking and seamless smile.
- Removable prosthesis that replaces one or more missing teeth.
- Made of a metal framework or acrylic base with artificial teeth attached.
- Rests on the gum and is secured with clasps or attachments to adjacent natural teeth or implant
- Less stable compared to dental bridges.
- Can be more affordable than bridges.
- Does not require healthy adjacent teeth for support.
- May cause slight discomfort and affect speech initially.
- Requires regular removal for cleaning.
Here’s a summary of the same:
|Relies on adjacent healthy teeth (abutments)
|Does not require adjacent teeth for support
|Relatively more affordable
|Impact on Adjacent Teeth
|No effect on adjacent teeth
|Fixed or Removable
|Not removable (Fixed)
|Offers good comfort
|May cause initial discomfort