For people who have lost all or most of their teeth, dentures are often the best option for replacing them. Fixed bridges are only possible if there are enough teeth left to give a dental prosthesis something to grip. If you have no or only a few teeth remaining teeth, a fully removable denture system may be your best option for restoring your smile. For those who are only missing teeth in one arch (side), a partial denture can be used.
Though most people think that dentures are used only when all of one’s teeth are missing (this is called a complete denture), most removable bridges are used when only a few teeth are missing from a particular arch. An arch is one quadrant or quarter of your mouth. If numerous teeth are missing, much of the arch may need to be replaced, and a removable bridge is a great and affordable option for this.
Many patients prefer getting dentures over undergoing extensive work to repair or replace their teeth all together. As implants and fixed bridges can become expensive and require the patient to be in decent health, removable bridges are a great option for patients who have limited budgets or are simply not healthy enough to support a fixed bridge or implant.
Why Might I Need A Removable Bridge or Dentures?
Teeth can fall out for a number of reasons:
- Accidents can knock a healthy tooth out of place.
- Congenital deformities can cause some people to never develop certain teeth, such as the incisors, or one set of molars.
- Cavities that are left untreated or other forms of poor dental hygiene can damage your teeth to the point that fillings and onlays/inlays cannot be used, and the tooth must be pulled.
In any of these cases, a person will be left with a gap in their smile. This can be uncomfortable and embarrassing for many people, especially if the missing tooth is in the smile area. Fortunately, dentures can solve this problem!
During your initial consultation, Dr. Zadeh will examine your gums, jaw bone, and remaining teeth in order to determine if any procedures need to be done before dentures can be used. Occasionally, a portion of the bone must be filed down and adjustments to the teeth need to be made for the denture to fit properly. If Dr. Zadeh determines that dentures are the right choice for you, an impression of the gums, remaining teeth, and mouth will be taken. This ensures your new removable bridge will fit perfectly. We have recently added digital impression making to our office, so Dr. Zadeh will try to use this as often as possible for your comfort and to reduce the use of messy impression clay.
When Are Removable Bridges Appropriate?
When all or most of a patient’s teeth are missing or damaged beyond repair, a removable bridge is frequently used. If a few teeth are present, Dr. Zadeh constructs a removable bridge around these teeth. If no teeth are present or viable and you are healthy, Dr. Zadeh may use dental implants to create a base for the removable bridge. This allows you to have a stable place to fix your new dentures. You can then eat, smile, and engage with your friends naturally and confidently.
With complete dentures, a type of adhesive must be used to keep the denture in place, as your denture(s) can shift or fall out of place quite easily on their own. If you are healthy enough, Dr. Zadeh may recommend mini-implants as an anchor point for your denture. He can also determine if any of your remaining teeth can provide a stable base for a removable bridge. If not, he will determine if dental implants might be an option to stabilize your denture.
Dentures are often deemed medically necessary, so your insurance may cover at least part of the cost. This makes dentures an economic option for you, if you are on a fixed income or limited budget. Removable bridges and dentures will also help protect your remaining teeth for later cosmetic work.
When you get your bridge, Dr. Zadeh will provide you with instructions on how to care for and clean your dentures. This includes removing the dentures at night, so that your own saliva can reach your entire mouth, which helps to maintain dental health. He will also educate you on how to properly clean and care for your dentures to reduce the chances of pneumonia and other complications that may occur with dentures, in case you fall asleep with them in your mouth.
Advantages of a Removable Bridge
Removable bridges are economical and often cheaper because of the increased and specialized work needed to create fixed bridges or properly place dental implants. Some patients simply are not good candidates for those treatments due to a number of reasons related to their health or other limitations. As with many cases of missing teeth, the other teeth may eventually become displaced.
Without a stabilizing denture, the face can also appear sunken, making you look older than you really are or appear to be. Dentures reinforce the stability of your remaining teeth and give you a more youthful appearance, making you look years younger. These appliances also help with pronunciation and clear your speech, as teeth are an important part of the speaking process. These advantages give you more confidence in social situations and eliminate any embarrassment caused by your missing teeth. Dentures will also protect your remaining teeth from becoming loose and displaced, potentially causing further tooth loss of otherwise healthy teeth.