Living with missing teeth isn’t easy. It negatively impacts the way you chew food and can even lead to a misaligned bite and affect the way you speak. Fortunately, modern dental technology provides some different options to replace missing teeth. Two of those are dental bridges and partial dentures. Both of these appliances are excellent choices for replacing one or more missing teeth. So how do you choose between the two? We’re providing the following information to help you decide.
What You Need to Know about Partial Dentures
Partial dentures consist of false teeth that are placed within a metal frame. The frame fits into the patient’s mouth, in the location of the missing teeth, and attaches to the natural teeth on either side of the frame. Partial dentures can be easily removed by the patient; in fact, they need to be removed to be cleaned. Similar to a full set of dentures, partials that are not in the patient’s mouth need to be kept damp – preferably by soaking in water – until they’re once again inside the mouth.
Some people prefer partials because they are removable. The downside is that a partial denture can be somewhat fragile, so you’ll have to be careful not to drop the appliance and to use a specially designed denture brush and denture cleaner to clean it.
What You Need to Know about Dental Bridges
From a patient’s point of view, the main difference between a partial denture and a dental bridge is that a denture is removable and a bridge is permanent (also referred to as “fixed,” or not removable). A dental bridge typically consists of one or more artificial teeth that are permanently attached to neighboring existing teeth inside the patient’s mouth. Usually, a bridge is made up of one or more false teeth that are flanked on either side by crowns, and those crowns fit over the patient’s adjoining teeth on either end of the bridge. If the patient doesn’t have natural teeth on both sides, a bridge can be affixed to a dental implant to secure the appliance.
Many dental patients like the idea of a permanent appliance that they don’t have to remove to clean. People with a fixed bridge simply brush and floss as they normally would. One disadvantage is that it is possible for food to be caught under the appliance, or for the fit of the bridge to change over time.
For more information on partial dentures and dental bridges, talk to your dentist. He or she can provide more information and help you decide which would be best for you.