The two re-shaped teeth are referred to as abutment teeth, and the middle tooth over gum ridge is called the pontic. Dental cement secures the bridge in place on the teeth. So, a fixed bridge is like a connection of crowns, with the part replacing the missing tooth or teeth being solid underneath since there is nothing to fit over.
There are advantages and disadvantages compared with dental implants. With a fixed bridge the time to arrive at a final result is shortened. But if you do not otherwise need these abutment teeth reshaped (like for a single crown, due to a large filling, for instance), you have to highly consider the dental implant option which will not connect to (and thereby alter) any of your other teeth. Here at Smile Sensations Dental, the dentist can help you further with the advantages and disadvantages of both procedures as it affects you personally, and that is what really counts.
Partials dentures are most secure when there are few missing teeth and many on which to make a connection. “Free end extensions” like you see on the photo above on the left side lead to a little more movement when chewing certain foods, but with an otherwise good design and good patient instruction this can be minimized. The dentist may have to make some small “divots” or “rest seats” in your remaining teeth, to house certain parts of the partial denture, and keep the biting forces directed to the teeth and off the gums and bone underneath. Planned well, these rest seats preserve your jaw bone over time.
The fit, stability and security with an upper denture usually far exceeds what can be achieved with any complete lower denture. A properly made upper denture will often suction into place with no adhesive needed whereas a properly made lower denture still has to rely on gravity and the tongue to keep it in place during a meal. Whether it’s a set of full dentures, removable partial dentures, or a combination, patients have the most stability while chewing by cutting their food into smaller portions and chewing on both sides at the same time, which balances the forces.
Over time, even the best fitting dentures will become loose over time, as the underlying bony structure changes. Since you can only use so much adhesive “goo” for so long, please know that a lab reline will bring you back to having many more pleasant days with your dentures for many years to follow.
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There is a lot of other information we can share with you about bridgework, and all the types of removable denture appliances discussed above, so please call our office today to make an appointment!