Know How Many Teeth Can a Dental Bridge Support

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Do you have a single missing tooth or several teeth in a row? Are you wondering if traditional bridges can be good teeth replacements? Dental restorations, such as dental bridges, are a popular option among patients.

This tooth replacement option can make activities like eating, chewing, and speaking easier. But, how many teeth can a dental bridge support? In this blog post, we’ll discuss the different types of dental bridges available and how many teeth each type supports so that you can determine which may be most suitable for you.

Summary of the Content

  • Dental bridges can typically support up to three or four missing teeth, but in some cases, they can go up to six teeth.

  • Long-span dental bridges are generally not recommended because they don’t have artificial roots making them less stable.

  • A long dental bridge may become loose and break over time because it lacks stable support in the jaw.

  • Dental bridges that have a long span are harder to clean, increasing the risks of gum problems.

What is a Dental Bridge?

Dental bridges are a common type of teeth replacement option used to fill in the space of a lost tooth and help restore the normal functioning of teeth. Similar to a partial denture, a dental bridge typically consists of two dental crowns anchored to the adjacent teeth and a false tooth or teeth held in place.

Natural teeth and dental implants usually support dental bridges. However, the natural teeth on either side must be completely free from decay; otherwise, additional treatment, such as root canals, may be needed to prepare them for the dental bridge installation.

Meanwhile, if you opt for an implant-supported bridge, you must have sufficient jawbone. When there is insufficient bone in the jaw, dental bridges may not receive maximum support, and the dentist may recommend a bone graft procedure.

Why Do People Need Dental Bridges?

Your teeth are vital to the daily intake of nutrients, so it is important to maintain strong and healthy teeth. However, when natural teeth are not properly cared for, they may suffer from tooth decay and other gum diseases, eventually leading to tooth loss.

With a traditional bridge, it is possible to replace teeth without removing a smile’s natural aesthetics or compromising its functionality.

When you’re missing a tooth, the teeth around it may shift positions to fill the gap. The teeth on the other jaw can incline upwards or downwards to fill the gap left by the lost tooth. This can lead to the following issues:

  • Wrong bite
  • Difficulty chewing
  • Teeth and jaw discomfort due to the added pressure
  • Discomfort with one’s physical appearance or smile.

Proper care can help avoid dental bridge failure. The material used also affects the durability of dental bridges. Various factors, including the location of the abutments for bridges, metal allergies, and bruxism, should be considered when deciding on the best materials for dental bridges. The type of material can also contribute to providing maximum support for dental bridges. Below are commonly used materials for dental bridges:

  • Porcelain fused to metal or PFM:
    A tooth’s natural appearance can be replicated with PFM. It’s as strong as metal and discreet as possible by matching the colour of your surrounding teeth. Any tooth, whether front or back, can benefit from this material.

  • Gold:
    Dental bridges made of gold are among the most durable restorations available today. The material is resistant to wear. Patients who grind their teeth should consider this option. There is no toxicity from this metal to the gums. However, gold bridges for the back teeth are still the most popular option. Front teeth would stand out too much with this shade.

  • Porcelain:
    Dental bridges are typically made of pure porcelain or porcelain fused to Zirconia. There is no denying that using these materials significantly enhances the appearance of dental bridges. These materials can better withstand extremes of temperature, both cold and heat. Ceramic bridges made of porcelain fused to Zirconia are strong, non-corroding alternatives to metal crowns. Bridges made entirely of porcelain are prone to breaking, especially in patients who grind their teeth at night.

How Does a Dental Bridge Work?

A dental bridge is an effective treatment plan for replacing missing teeth. It relies on the two adjacent teeth, known as abutment teeth, to provide anchorage for the new artificial tooth or teeth. During your first dental visit, your dentist will place a temporary bridge while a dental laboratory fabricates your custom permanent bridge. This artificial tooth or pontic will be securely placed to fill the gap between the abutment teeth, providing both aesthetics and function. To ensure maximum support, it’s crucial that the abutment teeth are healthy and strong.

Benefits of Dental Bridges

Dental bridge placement is a common dental service that replaces missing teeth. But aside from that, they also offer numerous benefits:

  • Smile Restoration:
    Patients who lack teeth and want to restore their smile may benefit from dental bridges. This can also have a positive effect on your overall health and happiness. This is because when you’re happy with how your smile looks, you’re more likely to flash it frequently, boosting your confidence and happy hormones.

  • Improve speaking and chewing abilities:
    After tooth extraction, loss of teeth can make it difficult or painful for a person to eat certain foods. Words may also be mispronounced. Dental bridges can improve one’s ability to chew food thoroughly and speak clearly.

  • Prevent bone loss:
    When a tooth is lost, bone loss can occur in the socket left by the missing tooth. With the help of implant-supported bridges, artificial tooth roots prompt the jawbone into action to produce more bone cells.

  • Prevent the teeth from shifting:
    It is possible to preserve your natural teeth with the help of a dental bridge. Dental bridges help close gaps at the gum line, reducing the likelihood that adjacent teeth will shift and become loose.

How Many Teeth Can Your Dental Bridge Hold?

Dental bridges are one of the most common tooth-replacement procedures in dental practice. They provide a way to replace lost teeth and restore your mouth’s functionality. But how many teeth can a dental bridge support?

Dental bridges can typically support up to three teeth in a row. In some cases, they can hold five or six teeth in one bridge. This includes cuspids or bicuspids, giving you a great option for replacing multiple missing teeth.

Factors that Affect the Number of Teeth that Your Bridge Can Hold

When considering a dental bridge, it’s crucial to understand the key factors that impact its capacity, including:

  • The quality and quantity of healthy teeth
  • The bone structure
  • Existing dental bridges

What are the Risks and Considerations of Long-span Dental Bridges

A dental bridge can be an effective way to replace missing teeth and maintain oral health. But there are some risks and considerations that need to be taken into account.

  • Gum tissue and natural bone loss:
    Dental bridges are not directly attached to your jawbone. This means that the jawbone in the area covered by the span of the bridge will not be stimulated by a tooth root. This causes the jaw bone and gum tissues to deteriorate over time.

  • Loss of chewing strength:
    Long-span dental bridges can break while chewing because they lack stable support from the jaw. Instead, the bite force goes directly into the gums.

  • Harder to clean:
    Permanent bridges are bonded directly into the abutment teeth. They cannot be removed for cleaning, which makes it more complicated for long-span dental bridges.

Types of Dental Bridges

There are three main types of dental bridges: traditional fixed bridges, cantilever bridges, and Maryland bonded bridges. Each of these is described in more detail below:

  • Traditional fixed bridges:
    Using dental crowns on the teeth on either side of the gap, traditional fixed bridges can fill the gap and stay in place. Porcelain fused with metal or ceramics is the most common material for this type of bridge. Also, the two teeth on either side of the gap must be prepared by reshaping and capping them before the bridge can be placed.

  • Cantilever bridges:
    These are used when there is only one healthy tooth on either side of the gap to anchor the pontic and keep the bridge in place. When there are no teeth on either side of the gap, this is a recommended treatment option by the dental team.

  • Maryland bonded bridges:
    They are also known as resin-bonded bridges, commonly used to replace front teeth. They are made from a metal framework with porcelain fused to metal teeth. The pontic is fixed to the adjacent healthy teeth with metal or porcelain wings on either side of the bridge, which is fixed behind the adjacent teeth. The Maryland bridge is a more conservative alternative than the traditional fixed bridge because it does not require reshaping and the placement of crowns on the adjacent teeth. Instead, the metal wings fit behind the abutment teeth.

Who are Not Good Candidates For Dental Bridges

Before opting for a dental bridge, consult your dentist to determine if you are a suitable candidate. Some conditions may render patients unsuitable for dental bridges, including:

  • A large number of adjacent missing teeth
  • Receding gums
  • Extensive periodontal problems
  • Insufficient bone density
  • Poor oral hygiene

What are the Alternatives for Dental Bridges?

The dental bridge is the most common solution when looking for a replacement tooth or teeth. However, some alternatives can provide better support and strength for tooth replacement.

  • Dental implant systems:
    These include the implant body and abutment, and sometimes an abutment fixation screw. The root of a missing tooth is surgically replaced with the dental implant body. The dental implant abutment, which extends through the gums and into the mouth to support the attached artificial teeth, is typically fastened to the implant body with the abutment fixation screw.

  • Denture:
    This is a false tooth or teeth that could be made entirely of plastic or a combination of metal and plastic. Clips may be used with either variety of dentures to aid in retention. Depending on their placement, some of these clips may move when you open your mouth or smile.

Final Thoughts

Dental bridges offer a fantastic solution for supporting missing teeth and restoring your smile’s natural beauty and function. The number of teeth a dental bridge can support depends on factors such as the health of the surrounding teeth and the type of bridge used. Generally, patients can expect maximum support from dental bridges when three or four abutment teeth secure the false tooth.

At Byford Smiles, we provide reliable dental procedures and care. With Byford Smiles, you can trust that you’re receiving top-quality dental services when looking for a solution to replace multiple missing teeth. Contact us today to learn more and schedule your appointment!

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