Oral & Vision Health Blog

Partial Denture or Bridge: Which is Best?

There are big differences between partial dentures and bridges. When you are missing a tooth (or teeth), knowing your options is important. How do you know which appliance to choose? Is one option better than the other? Let's look at both options and consider which one may be best for your needs.

What are partial dentures?

According to DentalHealth.com, a partial denture (or partial plate) is either made up of plastic, or a mixture of metal and plastic. This appliance has one or more false teeth on it. The plate is designed to clip onto the remaining teeth that surround the area where you have the gap. While the plastic plate is easier on your wallet, it can also possibly damage your healthy teeth if it is not made and fitted properly. The combination appliance is more expensive than the plastic version. The metal incorporated into the denture makes the plate stronger, reducing the possibility of damage to your surrounding teeth. Typically, the combination denture is the better option, but you will need to ask your dentist to confirm that they will suit your needs.

What is a bridge?

This appliance is a section of false teeth that have a crown on either end. The crowns fit over your existing teeth to hold the false teeth in place. There are three types of this dental appliance, as explained by WebMD:

  1. Traditional: This is the most common type. It can be made of porcelain and metal, or ceramics. This appliance is used the same way outlined above -- a crown goes over the teeth on either end of the gap, and the false tooth is positioned in between.
  2. Cantilever: This type may be used when there is only one surrounding tooth instead of two. Cantilevers aren’t very common and are not recommended for the back of the mouth due to the possibility of damage to other teeth.
  3. Maryland Bonded :These are also known as resin bonded bridges. They are usually made of porcelain, porcelain attached to metal, or plastic pieces bonded to a porcelain and metal base. The porcelain or metal wings that extend from the sides of the crown are adhered to the teeth surrounding the appliance.

Which option is better?

Ultimately, everyone’s mouth is different, so this is a question best answered by your dentist. Bridges can last up to fifteen years or more, whereas partial dentures generally last for approximately five years. If you are only missing one or two teeth, a bridge may be a better option for you. Partial dentures tend to be less expensive and are typically preferred if you are missing several teeth If you are at risk for more tooth loss, you may want to choose a partial denture, since it’s a cheaper alternative. Be sure to speak with your dentist thoroughly before making a final decision. While you’re at it, confirm that your dentist is a participating provider with your dental plan to get maximum savings on your teeth replacements.  Together, the two of you can decide which is the best solution at the best price. Don't have a dental plan? Click below to find out which plan is right for you!

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