07 Nov Dentures vs. Bridges: What’s the Difference?
Missing teeth can cause many problems, from low self-esteem to difficulty eating and speaking. Luckily, there are several effective ways to restore your smile. Dentures and dental bridges are both excellent options for missing teeth, but it can be difficult to know which one is right for you. We compare the differences between dentures and bridges to help you understand which treatment your dentist is most likely to recommend based on your needs.
What Is the Difference Between Dentures and Dental Bridges?
Both dentures and bridges can replace missing teeth, but they are each used in different circumstances and function in different ways. We compare every aspect of dentures and bridges in detail below.
Function and Construction
Dentures are removable dental appliances used to replace multiple missing teeth. Full dentures replace a full set of upper or lower teeth, while partial dentures fill the gaps left by a few missing teeth.
A dental bridge or “fixed” bridge is a permanent restoration that can replace one missing tooth or several in a row. With a dental bridge, a false tooth (or teeth) called a pontic is held in place by dental crowns fitted over the teeth on either side of the gap.
Appearance and Fit
Dentures have a reputation for being uncomfortable and awkward-looking, but that myth is based on the dentures of the past. Today’s dentures are custom-designed to fit comfortably and seamlessly in your mouth. They also have highly realistic-looking gums and false teeth that are colored to perfectly match your smile.
Dental bridges are designed to look and feel just like natural teeth. They’re colored to match your other teeth and shaped to fit your mouth comfortably. They won’t feel strange or affect your bite, and will blend seamlessly into your smile.
With dentures, the first step is taking an impression of your mouth so that the prosthesis can be custom-made to ensure an accurate fit. Then, if you’re getting a full set of dentures, any remaining teeth will need to be extracted. Conventional dentures can be placed about 4 to 6 weeks after extraction, while “immediate” dentures can be placed the same day the teeth are removed. You’ll then return for a follow-up appointment to evaluate the fit and make any necessary adjustments.
The process for a dental bridge also begins with taking impressions of your mouth so that the crowns and pontic will resemble your natural teeth. Next, the teeth on either side of the gap need to be shaped to hold crowns. Then the crowns, already bridged together with the pontic, are permanently cemented in place.
Dentures must be removed and soaked in water or a cleaning solution every night so that they keep their shape. You also need to clean your dentures daily with a denture brush to remove any adhesive residue and bacteria. Even if you don’t have teeth, you can still get gum disease, so properly cleaning your dentures is crucial to protect your health.
Unlike dentures, dental bridges are permanent fixtures, so they are easier to maintain. You simply brush them along with your other teeth twice a day for two minutes at time. You will also need to floss around the crowns and underneath the bridge to remove bacteria and food debris.
Dentures vs. Dental Bridges—Which One Is Right for You?
Whether dentures or bridges are best for you depends on several factors, including:
- Number of missing teeth—Dentures are best for replacing multiple missing teeth in a row, or replacing single missing teeth in multiple places on the same arch. Bridges are designed to replace a single missing tooth, or several missing teeth in a row. However, the teeth on either side of the gap need to be strong enough to support crowns.
- Budget—On their own, dentures are typically cheaper than dental bridges. However, the overall process of getting dentures can be expensive if you need any teeth removed beforehand. Dentures also need to be replaced more frequently, which can lead to a higher long-term cost.
- Longevity—Dental bridges can last up to 15 years with proper care, while dentures only last for about 10 years.
Dentures and Dental Bridges in Sun Lakes, Arizona
The best way to weigh the pros and cons of dentures vs. dental bridges is to consult a dentist. At Dr. Saba and Associates, we provide high quality, long-lasting dentures and dental bridges to our neighbors in the Sun Lakes community. If you are missing teeth and want to restore your smile, call our office today at 480-895-2111 to schedule a consultation.