Once you’ve shed your first teeth and moved on to the adult versions, then mishaps or poor hygiene can start to take its toll. A gap in your teeth is the worst! Unsightly, it can cause you to be embarrassed to smile. It affects the efficiency of your bite, thus forcing you to eat more carefully or to avoid foods that you love, and it can even affect your speech! You have options to correct this issue, however. Let’s talk about the advantages and disadvantages of getting a Bridge vs Partial dentures so that you can better make an informed decision.
What is the difference between a bridge and a partial?
While they are both solutions to help fill in gaps within your teeth, the strategies behind them are quite different. With a bridge, you have a scenario where it is attached to the teeth on both sides of the gap or it might be anchored in place by implants. By contrast, Partial dentures employ a clasping mechanism (or in the case of ‘Snap On’ dentures, held in by magnets) and they must be removed at night and cleaned separately.
Which is better: a Bridge or a Partial Denture?
This is really going to depend on you. Most people prefer to employ a Bridge so that they do not have to take it out nightly to clean it like they would a denture but there is more to consider when you are making this decision. Ultimately, the solution which you go with going to be based on your budget and a number of other factors so we are going to explore some pros and cons so that you can make your own decision. Let’s review the pros and cons of both mediums.
Let’s go over the best parts of selecting Bridges as an option for filling in that incomplete smile. Bridges have the following advantages:
- Cosmetic advantage – Bridges look great, as you are essentially cementing a solid, functional, and artificial tooth in place to ‘fill the gap.’
- Longevity – Bridges, when taken care of, can last up to 15 years.
- Comfort – After your procedure, once the swelling has gone down and a few days have passed then you will find that you have already adjusted to them.
Bridges – The Cons
Like any solution, there are caveats to consider. Some of the ‘cons’ of selecting the Bridge option for your dental needs are as follows:
- Some destruction of natural teeth – Your dentist is going to need to shape the surrounding teeth in order to utilize them as ‘anchor points’ for the Bridge. This will require shaving and shaping of the teeth in question and some patients may not be receptive to the idea of crowning healthy teeth.
- Eligibility – The surrounding teeth must be healthy in order to take advantage of this solution. Your gums must be in good condition, as well, in order for you to be an ideal candidate.
- Cost – During the bridging process, the teeth which flank the gap that you are filling must be shaped and fitted with crowns. This adds to the cost of the procedure due to materials and time involved.
Partial dentures – The Pros
Next we come to the solution of Partial dentures. While they have somewhat of a stigma as being ‘old fashioned’, dentures have come a long way and have a few points in their favor which you may not have considered. The pros of a Partial denture solution are as follows:
- Cost effective – Dentures are typically going to be much cheaper than getting Bridges and as such, they are often considered by those looking for either a permanent solution or simply those who wish to put a temporary solution in place until they may afford more costly Bridges or Implants.
“They have somewhat of a stigma as being ‘old fashioned””
- Flexible solution– Partial dentures may be used to replace one missing tooth or many teeth on both sides, and may be employed even if many of the other teeth are damaged or otherwise ineligible for Bridges or Implants in their current state.
- Less invasive – For Partial Dentures, your dentist takes a mold of your mouth and then has them fabricated (in some cases this can be done on the same visit!). This means that you don’t have to have the dentist drilling and cementing for long periods of time and for some this is the most winning selling point of the medium.
Now that we have outlined the Pros of Partial dentures, let’s get into the parts which may discourage some from utilizing this time-tested solution. The ‘Cons’ of partial dentures are as follows:
- Maintenance – There is a bit of a learning curve in the beginning as one learns the nightly care required to clean and to properly maintain the Partial dentures.
- Durability – Partial dentures will typically last around 5 years before they will need to be replaced. If you are using them as a temporary solution then this may not be an issue.
- Comfort – Your teeth do move and shift over time and as such, sessions with your dentist may occasionally be called for in order to re-align your dentures should discomfort arise.
The final word
Overall, if your budget allows the option of a Bridge is generally going to be the best choice. Bridges are more durable, require less maintenance, and the adjustment time is almost nil. That said, if you are on a tight budget but would like some work in the future (or if you just really hate the idea of the Dentist reshaping currently healthy teeth), Partial dentures may be obtained quite easily and will help to ‘fill in the gap’ until you decide on something more permanent. Whichever you choose and for whatever duration, both options are cosmetically pleasing and are sure to do an excellent job in ‘filling the gap’.