The Difference Between Bridges and Partial Dentures

Partial Dentures vs Bridges

The gaps caused by missing teeth can cause you to experience a number of problems, ranging from difficulty speaking or eating, to changes in the positioning of your teeth or bone loss. In order to avoid experiencing problems from missing teeth, you will want to fill in the gap. There are two dental treatment options that allow you to fill in gaps caused by missing teeth: bridges and partial dentures.

Both dental treatment options use artificial teeth to fill in gaps caused by missing teeth. However, each one fills in a gap and essentially functions differently. Learning more about each dental treatment option will help you determine which one is right for you.

Learning More about Dental Bridges

Dental bridges, which are sometimes referred to as fixed partial dentures, use artificial teeth to fill in or bridge a gap that has been created by missing teeth. Just like the name suggests, a dental bridge is a permanent dental appliance that can only be removed by a dentist.

There are several different options available for how the dental bridge is permanently fixed into the mouth. The most common method is to take the two teeth on the sides of the gap, shave them down and prepare them with dental crowns. The dental crowns are then attached to an artificial tooth that will fill in the space from the missing teeth.

Other treatment options for dental bridges include using dental implants instead of dental crowns or taking the artificial tooth and just bonding it or cementing it to the two teeth on the side.

Benefits of getting a dental bridge include:

  • Dental bridges do not fall out
  • Great for fixing small gaps created by having only one or two missing teeth
  • Great for correcting multiple gaps located on the same side of the mouth
  • Appears natural

Disadvantages of a dental bridge include:

  • Cannot be removed by the patient
  • Repairs can be fairly expensive
  • Difficult to adjust if there are changes to your mouth
  • Maintaining good oral hygiene is important or the dental bridge could fall out or fail

Learning More about Partial Dentures

A partial denture is a large, flat plate that is attached to multiple artificial teeth that can fill in the gaps caused by missing teeth. The plate is removable.

Benefits of partial dentures:

  • Easy to remove
  • Shaving down of healthy teeth is not required
  • Great for filling in huge gaps caused by multiple missing teeth
  • Great for filling in gaps on both sides of the mouth
  • Easy to fix or repair if broken or damaged or if your mouth changes shape

Disadvantages of partial dentures include:

  • An adjustment period is needed to learn how to eat and speak with dentures
  • Can get lost
  • May fall out of the mouth if not properly secured
  • Requires extensive cleaning to remove bacteria and food particles that build up on the dental appliance

Questions to Ask Yourself to Help You Determine Which is Right for You

Asking yourself a few questions will help you determine which treatment option is right for you.

  • How many missing teeth are you replacing?
  • Is there a possibility for more teeth to go missing or need to be replaced?
  • Where are the gaps located in the mouth that need to be replaced with a dental appliance?
  • Are you responsible and able to keep track of a dental appliance?
  • What type of budget do you have for repairs to the dental appliance?
  • Do you need a dental appliance that is flexible and easily able to meet the changing shape of the mouth or different positioning of the teeth?
  • What type of overall budget do you have for the initial dental treatment?

It is a good idea to discuss these questions with your dentist, how you answer the questions will determine which treatment option is right for you.

Explore Possible Treatment Options by Scheduling an Appointment

Bonham Dental Arts can help you explore treatment options that will help you replace your missing teeth. Our staff will discuss the pros and cons of both dental bridges and partial dentures so you can make a fully-informed decision. Once you have made a decision about which treatment option you want to use to replace your missing teeth, our staff will be able to schedule your appointments for you.

Are you ready to discuss treatment options for your missing teeth? Call Bonham Dental Arts to speak with one of our experienced dentists.