Benefits and Limitations of a Fixed Dental Bridge

For many years, a fixed bridge was the best tooth replacement option available, and they continue to offer a number of benefits:

  • Attractive results—no one will know you had a missing tooth
  • Long-lasting restoration
  • Permanently affixed—it won’t slip or click when you talk, laugh, or eat
  • Lets you eat all your favorite foods

However, with the availability of dental implants, we are now more aware of some of the limitations of fixed dental bridges, such as:

  • Requires modification of neighboring teeth
  • Puts additional stress on neighboring teeth
  • Doesn’t stimulate jawbone, which can atrophy
  • Can be difficult to clean under
  • Can only replace one missing tooth
  • Not a permanent restoration

How much each of these matters in your case depends on your preferences and the current state of your mouth. For a direct comparison of tooth replacement options, see Comparing Dental Implants, Dental Bridges, and Dentures.

What is a Fixed Bridge?

First of all, a dental bridge is a prosthetic tooth (or teeth) that attaches on one or both sides to teeth prepared with dental crowns. A fixed bridge is permanently joined onto the neighboring abutment teeth (crowned teeth) and consists of three basic units: the false tooth or teeth (called a pontic) and two abutment crowns. The style of bridge we suggest will depend upon the strength and health of the abutment teeth, as well as the location of the gap in relation to the rest of your dentition. If healthy adjacent abutment teeth aren’t available, a surgically-implanted metal post, known as a dental implant, may offer a solid alternative. For a dental bridge that replaces many teeth, we may recommend a removable partial denture or implant-supported prosthesis. With proper care, a fixed dental bridge may last at least 8 to 10 years.

If you have questions about crown and bridgework or any other dental prosthetic, call our Tulsa dental office at (918) 528-3330. We will be happy to discuss the options and schedule your evaluation.