Dr. Michael Huang, DDS
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Do you Need a Bridge or a Partial?

April 9, 2016
Posted By: Michael Huang

We have many patients come to us with one or more missing teeth, who feel unsure whether they should choose a partial denture or a dental bridge to hold their replacement teeth. Each appliance has advantages and disadvantages, and ultimately we will base the choice on the patient’s personal preference, but patients should consider several factors before deciding on one or the other. If you lose one or more teeth, and need help deciding between a bridge and a partial, Dr. Michael C. Huang will discuss the benefits of each appliance with you and help you figure out which will work best in your particular situation.

To learn more about dental bridges and partial dentures, or to schedule an appointment with Dr. Huang, call our Covina dental office today.

Dental Bridges

Dental bridges, fixed appliances that replace one or more teeth, work best when the patient has several teeth missing in a row. Dr. Huang can place a dental bridge one of two different ways. The most common method type of dental bridge consists of one or more prosthetic teeth, called pontics, surrounded on either side by dental crowns. The doctor prepares the teeth on either side of the space left by the missing teeth by removing a small amount of enamel from the outside of each. He then bonds the crowns to the prepared teeth, creating a permanent replacement for the missing teeth.

The other option for dental bridges involves the placement of dental implants. If the patient has lost several teeth in a row, the doctor can surgically place tiny posts made of titanium in the jawbone. These posts provide the added benefit of stimulating the bone and keeping it from deteriorating. The doctor attaches the bridge directly to the implants, meaning none of the patient’s other teeth will need enamel removed as preparation for crowns. These bridges also provide a permanent replacement, and tend to last longer before requiring replacement.

Partial Dentures

Partial dentures provide patients with a removable option for replacing missing teeth. While a bridge works best to replace missing teeth in a row, the partial can replace teeth missing from different areas of the arch. The partial denture includes an acrylic base, tinted to match the color of the patient’s gums, with pontics attached to it. The base rests snugly against the patient’s gums, while metal clasps resembling small hooks attach to healthy teeth to hold the denture in place. Many partials now come with nylon clasps, which apply less pressure to the patient’s healthy teeth and eliminate the need for metal in the mouth. Vinyl partials have increased in popularity recently, as well. Vinyl provides a more flexible base than acrylic, which has a rigid feel to it and may feel uncomfortable to some patients.

As with dental bridges, Dr. Huang can attach partial dentures to dental implants. The doctor attaches small connectors, called abutments, to the head of each of the surgically placed implants. The denture has attachments that fit with the abutments, allowing the patient to snap the appliance in and out at will. Implants tend to provide greater stability for dentures.

Dental Bridge vs. Partial Denture

Patients should consider several factors when deciding between dental bridges and partial dentures, aside from whether they want a permanent or removable appliance. Dental bridges require the patient to have healthy teeth on either side of the gap created by the missing tooth or teeth. If the teeth on both sides of the gap cannot support dental crowns, the doctor will likely recommend the partial denture. If you do have a bridge placed, you will need to make a commitment to keep the supporting teeth healthy and clean.

Partial dentures appeal to many patients because they typically cost less than other options. A partial that attaches to healthy teeth will cost much less than one that attaches to implants. The doctor may recommend the partial denture option if the patient exhibits the potential for additional tooth loss in the future. Partial dentures allow for easy modification, and the doctor can add teeth to an existing partial denture fairly easily, and at a low cost to the patient. With the atrial denture, however, will take some time for most patients to get used to. They may affect the way patients speak, and may feel awkward when eating at first. Most patients eventually get used to the appliances after a short period of time.

Call Us for a Consultation

Choosing between a dental bridge and a partial denture can prove a daunting task for many patients, but Dr. Huang will explain each option in detail and help you choose the best option for your mouth. Contact our Covina, CA dental office today to schedule a consultation.

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