Until the invention of dental implants, dental bridges were considered the best tooth replacement option. And they are still a good choice. They can be functional and beautiful–and durable.
But there is one important way that they’re not as good as dental implants: they don’t stimulate your jawbone. When your jawbone isn’t stimulated, the body can remove what it thinks is “unnecessary” bone. And when your jawbone diminishes, your gums can, too. In some cases, you might end up with a visible space under the dental bridge. Now your beautiful bridge has an unfortunate cosmetic defect that you can make you unhappy.
Fortunately, there are many options for restoring the beauty of your smile in this case.
Option 1: Extend the Bridge
A simple but effective option is to make the dental bridge taller. We can rough the surface of the bridge and then bond an extension on. The extension can be a combination of longer teeth and replacement gum tissue–whatever best matches the appearance of your teeth and gums next to the bridge.
This is only a good option if your bridge is still functional and in good repair.
Option 2: Gum Liner
Instead of getting a hard replacement attached to the bridge itself, we can use a soft replacement that rests on your natural gum tissue. Soft liner material for dentures works well for this application because it looks good and will stay in place. But it’s not a favorite because it’s not especially durable and needs to be replaced regularly.
Option 3: Artificial Graft
Instead of putting something on the outside of your gums, we can try to put something under the gums that will build them up. An artificial, inert material can be placed there, and it will stay in place because your body can’t resorb it.
There are a couple of disadvantages here, though. It’s hard to get the bulked up gums to match with the bridge aesthetically, and the results might not be as good as we’d like. And there’s a risk of infection any time we put this kind of artificial material in the gums. It’s a small risk, but still a factor.
Option 4: True Graft
If we’re going to the trouble of putting something under the gums, why not actually build up the jawbone? We can do this using bone material that will heal and integrate with your natural bone. It’s possible to build your jawbone back to the point where it was when you first got your bridge.
The problem is that this new bone is likely to suffer the same fate as your original bone.
Option 5: Dental Implants
But the best choice might be to remove the dental bridge and replace it with a dental implant. We’ll probably want to use a bone graft to help provide support for your dental implant, but once the implant is in place, it will stimulate and maintain the bone. There may be some level of bone loss, but it won’t be the same level. It probably won’t even be visible.
We’ll Work with You to Find the Best Option
The point is that in this situation you don’t have to accept an unattractive result. You have options–a lot of them, in fact.
It’s the same for many other concerns you may have about the appearance of your smile. Cosmetic dentistry typically can solve any problem, and we can solve it in several ways so you can get the solution that best meets your needs.