Replace missing teeth with a range of dental bridge options
Tooth extractions are a “last resort” procedure at New Leaf Dental in Meridian, Idaho (also serving Nampa, Caldwell, Eagle, Mountain Home, Middleton, Star, and surrounding communities). Led by Drs Nathan Williams and Adam Dixon, we appreciate that no tooth is superior in form (appearance) and function than a healthy, natural one! Fortunately, you can retain a natural appearance and healthy function even after losing a tooth, several teeth, or a mouthful of teeth.
Our dentists have invested in the training and capabilities to offer many different types of tooth replacement, including conventional fixed bridges and modern, implant-supported bridges.
The bridge structure
Think of how an architectural bridge spans two points. A dental bridge also spans two points, the space between two teeth where a tooth used to be. The dental bridge itself is made up of at least three components:
- One anchor tooth or “abutment” tooth on the left side of the gap
- Another anchoring, abutment tooth on the right side of the gap
- A pontic or replacement tooth, which is fixed to the abutments
In turn, this system involves using natural, healthy, remaining teeth to support the pontic (replacement tooth). Once the pontic is connected to the anchor teeth, it “fills in” or bridges the gap or space between the neighboring abutments. The pontic is attached to dental crowns, and the dental crowns are placed on top of the abutments. Crowns are required to support the new tooth in between optimally. As with all crowns, some natural tooth structure must be removed. So, each crown can then fit on top of the anchor tooth well. Accordingly, this approach is not considered the most “tooth-preserving” way to replace teeth.
The conservative approach: Dental implants
Dental implant-supported replacement teeth do not require the removal of natural tooth structure from existing, neighboring teeth. As their name suggests, this type of restoration is supported by implants. Each implant is a cylindrical-shaped post made from biocompatible materials, such as titanium or Zirconia. These materials are formulated to join to living tissues. After the implant has healed, it becomes a part of the jawbone. From there, the bridge or replacement teeth are connected to the implant through small connector pieces. This technique allows for the ultimate in lasting stability and comfort because the replacement teeth are quite literally “rooted” in the jaw – like a natural tooth!
At New Leaf Dental, we also offer an alternative to standard-sized implants: the mini implant. These mini-sized implants may be appropriate for patients who have lost bone in the jaw due to long-term missing teeth. Such patients may not want or be good candidates for bone grafting to build up the bone. The small-diameter implant and its corresponding techniques allow these patients to experience the many benefits of implants. How can we complete your smile? Find out today! Call us at (208) 896-2284 to schedule your appointment with Drs Williams or Dixon.
A bridge is a non-surgical way to replace one or many teeth. A bridge uses the adjacent teeth as anchors to support the missing tooth or teeth. With today’s dental advancements, a bridge can be fabricated in a fairly short period of time, using a metal or nonmetal foundation. Don’t let that missing tooth affect the way you speak, eat, and smile. Bridges yield immediate results that last a lifetime. Ask your dentist what type of bridge may be right for you.