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How Much of Your Tooth Do You Lose When You Get a Bridge?

Posted on 9/20/2016 by Dr. Hallas
A diagram of how a dental bridge works.A bridge is a common dental appliance used to replace one or more missing teeth. False teeth, also called pontic teeth, are connected between two crowns, which are cemented to the healthy teeth surrounding the empty space in your mouth.

Crowns require these "anchor teeth" to be ground down to ensure a proper fit. So, how much of these teeth do you actually lose?

The Type of Dental Crown

Most crowns require a minimum thickness of two millimeters, and most dentists will grind teeth down to this thickness or just slightly over. The teeth must also be tapered to allow the crown to fit properly over them.

Ceramic and porcelain crowns require the most amount of grinding, but they offer the benefit of matching the rest of your natural teeth. The crowns also tend to be made out of these materials to be cohesive with the pontic teeth.

Metal crowns are used less often, as they don't match your natural teeth, but they are thinner and therefore don't require as much of the anchor teeth to be removed.

Fixed Dental Bridge

The type of bridge you choose also determines how much of the anchor teeth need to be ground away. A traditional fixed bridge requires the most. This is because the fixed bridge utilizes crowns, most often ceramic or porcelain. The crowns are cemented to the anchor teeth and aren't meant to be removed.

Resin-Bonded Dental Bridge

A resin-bonded bridge, also known as a "Maryland" bridge doesn't require any grinding. Instead, "wings" are attached to the back of false teeth. The wings are cemented to the back of the anchor teeth. They are not as strong as a traditional bridge, but your healthy teeth are preserved.

Implant Supported Dental Bridge

An implant supported bridge is not attached to any teeth, but is still a permanent fixture. Implants are surgically placed in your jaw, acting as the anchor and the support for the false teeth.

This bridge is strong, doesn't require any grinding and it has the added advantage of maintaining the integrity of your jawbone, slowing and even stopping the loss of bone mass that usually occurs after tooth loss.

While a traditional bridge requires some grinding, other types do not. Contact our office to discuss your options.

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