When you should consider getting a bridge?

What is a dental bridge?

  • before-dental-bridge
    Missing 2 front teeth

A dental bridge is a fixed prosthesis that replaces one or more missing teeth by closing the gap between teeth. A bridge is essentially three or more crowns that are connected to one another. Bridges are fixed, however, they are different from dental implants. Bridges stay in place by attaching to your natural teeth and filling in the gap created by your missing tooth. Placing a bridge requires your dentist to shave the two teeth next to the gap. Teeth used as anchors for a bridge are known as abutments and the missing teeth are known as pontics. Typically, you need to have at least one tooth in front and one behind the missing gap in order to create a bridge. If you're missing terminal teeth then placing a bridge is no longer an option. Schedule a consultation with a dentist near you to learn more about bridges to see if you are a candidate.

What are the benefits of a bridge?

Missing teeth lead to bite problems, increased risk of cavities, gum disease, and damage to your remaining teeth

Placing a bridge can replace your missing tooth with a fixed restoration. You shouldn't ignore gaps created by missing teeth. Neglecting to replace missing teeth leads to problems that can affect your entire mouth. Here are some of the consequences of leaving gaps in your mouth:

Bite Issues

Your teeth in front, behind, and opposing the missing tooth all start moving into the missing gap

Losing a tooth leaves a large gap in your mouth. As a result, your remaining teeth start to slowly drift into this space. The tooth in front, the one behind, and the opposing tooth will all start to gradually move into this gap. Over time this could completely mess up your bite relationship. Having a poor bite relationship can increase the likelihood of tooth fracture, dental restoration failure, headaches, and other relevant dental and facial problems.

Increased Risk of Developing Cavities and Gum Disease

When you have a missing tooth, it makes it much harder to properly clean that area. Most people fail to clean gaps created in their mouth by missing teeth, especially the teeth neighboring this gap. As a result, you're much more likely to develop cavities on teeth adjacent to the gap. If left untreated, this cavity can lead to an infection and cause you to lose more teeth. Consequently, a single missing tooth can cause you to lose a whole bunch of teeth over the years to come!

Damage to your Remaining Teeth

The more teeth that you lose, the more stress you place onto the remaining teeth

Many people assume that losing a single tooth is not that big of a deal. We have 28 adult teeth, so how important could one tooth really be? This is not true. Every time that you lose a tooth you increase the stress exerted onto your remaining teeth. The added stress increases the chances of your remaining teeth cracking and breaking over time. The more teeth that you lose, the more stress gets exerted onto the remaining teeth. This can cause an avalanche effect and cause you to lose more teeth. As you can see, it's always best to replace your missing teeth to protect your mouth. You can prevent your remaining teeth from shifting by placing a bridge to replace your missing tooth. This makes it easier to maintain proper hygiene, protects your bite from collapsing, and supports your remaining teeth.

Is a bridge a better option than a denture?

  • bridge-versus-dental-implant
    A bridge is secured onto two adjacent teeth to close a gap in your mouth.

There are three common ways to replace your missing teeth. One of them is a bridge. The other ones are dental implants and dentures. Typically, a dental bridge is preferred over dentures. Here is why:

  • Bridges are fixed in your mouth whereas dentures are removable.
  • With a bridge, you get superior chewing capacity whereas dentures only offer about 20 to 40% chewing capacity as compared to your natural teeth.
  • Bridges feel like your own teeth but wearing dentures can be awkward and uncomfortable at times.

Is a bridge a better option than a dental implant?

In almost all cases, a dental implant is a better option than a bridge. There are several reasons why dentists usually recommend going with a dental implant over a bridge:

  • Placing a dental implant does not damage your remaining teeth. On the other hand, in order to place a bridge, you must shave at least the two teeth neighboring teeth. Shaving teeth can cause problems such as cavities or infections. It's not uncommon to have to require a root canal or to lose one of your supporting teeth over time. This causes your bridge to fail, leaving you with one or more missing teeth than you had before you received your bridge!
  • Dental implants are easier to clean as compared to bridges. You can clean your dental implants like you clean your natural teeth. Cleaning underneath a bridge can be quite challenging. It usually requires special instruments. Sometimes you simply can't clean this area and end up with a constant food trap underneath the bridge.
  • Many times placing a bridge is not an option and you can only place a dental implant. In order to qualify for a bridge, you must have at least one healthy tooth on each side of the gap. If you're missing a terminal tooth or multiple teeth next to each other then you can't place a bridge in this region.

As you can see, dental implants are superior to bridges. Now, we're not saying that you should never place a bridge on your teeth. There are some scenarios where placing a bridge makes more sense than a dental implant. Here are a few examples of these exceptions:

Full Mouth Rehabilitation

If teeth adjacent to a missing gap already require crowns, then placing a bridge might make more sense than going for a dental implant

Full mouth rehabilitation is when your dentist places a crown on just about every single tooth in your mouth. Oftentimes during full mouth rehabilitation, a bridge is placed instead of a dental implant. If the teeth adjacent to a missing gap require crowns, then placing a bridge makes more sense than going for a dental implant. After all, the point of avoiding a bridge is not to have to shave your adjacent teeth. However, if these teeth already require a crown, then why not just convert them into a bridge and skip the implant surgery? This saves you time and money without adversely affecting the outcome of the treatment.

Insufficient Bone

Sometimes you have to perform extensive bone graft procedures to restore your jawbone for dental implants

Sometimes there is not enough bone to place a dental implant without having to go through extensive bone grafting treatment. Not everyone wants to go through this. It might make sense to place a bridge instead of a dental implant. Plus, you could have your bridge in a few weeks whereas dental implants take months, sometimes years, to complete treatment.

Too Small of a gap

If there is not enough space to insert a dental implant between two teeth then placing a bridge might be your only option

Occasionally, the gap between your two teeth is too narrow to place a dental implant. You need a minimum of 6 to 7 millimeters to successfully place a dental implant. If there isn't enough space to place an implant, then a bridge might be your only other option. Of course, you can always get braces or wear clear aligners to open up the gap, then place a dental implant. However, not everyone wants to go through this. Placing a bridge can close these small gaps without the need for braces and dental implants.

Crown and bridge treatment in San Clemente, Orange County

We offer all sorts of treatments including dental bridges, dentures, and dental implants

If you're missing teeth, whether it's one tooth or all of your teeth, we can help! Give us a call today at (949)481-2540 or book your appointment online today. We offer all sorts of solutions for your missing teeth, including dental bridges, dentures, and dental implants. Our dentist, Dr. Jazayeri, will work with you to determine the best course of treatment for your smile. We will present pros and cons of different treatments to help you understand which is the best option for you. Give us a call today to see how easy fixing your missing teeth can be.

Interested in purchasing treatment directly online? Click on the link below to go to my online store now:


If you're interested in learning more about different treatments related to dental bridges, click on the following links:

Definition of General Dentistry Terminology

Abscess (cyst)

A pus pocket containing harmful bacteria that forms around infected teeth. Teeth with abscess are considered infected and they either need root canal treatment or must be extracted.

Amalgam (silver filling)

Material used to fill dental cavities. Amalgam is silver colored and contains Mercury. As a filling material, Amalgam is durable and effective. However, there are some concerns about the safety of using Mercury to restore teeth.

Bicuspid tooth

Refer to premolar tooth please.

Canine tooth (cuspid or eye tooth)

A strong, pointed tooth with a single cusp used to direct other teeth as we chew side-to-side. Canine teeth are very strong and typically outlast all other teeth as we age. We have 4 total canines, teeth numbers: 6, 11, 22 and 27.

Cavity (decay)

A hole inside a tooth created by harmful cavity bugs. Dental cavities can cause slight tooth sensitivity, particularly to cold and sweets. They can also be asymptomatic. If left untreated, dental cavities infiltrate the tooth pulp and cause abscess and infection.

Composite resin (white filling)

Material used to fill dental cavities and broken teeth. Composite resin is safe, effective and matches your tooth color. Cosmetic dentists prefer using composite resins to other filling restoration material due to their natural appearance.

Crown (cap)

A large restoration that replaces the majority of your tooth structure above the gum line. Crowns are used to fix teeth which can no longer be salvaged with a simple filling. Crowns are typically made from gold, porcelain-fused-to-metal or ceramic material.


Refer to cavity please.

Deep cleaning (scaling & root planning)

A type of dental cleaning which focuses on removing plaque and tartar underneath your gum line. Deep cleanings are used to treat gum disease. Most deep cleanings are performed in multiple sessions and often times require anesthesia.

Dental cleaning

Teeth cleaning performed by your dentist or hygienist. Dental cleaning focuses on removing plaque and tartar which can’t be removed by brushing or flossing alone. Dental cleanings are categorized as simple cleaning or deep cleaning.


The middle portion of your tooth which is located above the pulp and underneath the enamel. Unlike enamel, dentin has nerve endings which makes it sensitive to tooth decay.


Removable, false teeth used to replace your missing natural teeth. Dentures are made from pink and white acrylic. The pink portion secures your dentures in place and the white segment replaces your missing teeth. There are many different types of dentures including full dentures and partial dentures.


The very hard outer portion of your tooth. In fact, enamel is the hardest tissue found in our bodies. Enamel protects your tooth from cavities and provides it with the strength to cut and chew food.


Material used by dentists to replace missing tooth structure. Fillings are used to fix dental cavities and broken teeth. Fillings are made from gold (mostly obsolete), Amalgam (silver filling) or composite resin (white filling).

Full Denture (Complete denture)

A set of false teeth which replaces all of your teeth in one arch. Full dentures are held in place by the suction they provide against your gum tissue. Full dentures are typically made from pink and white acrylic.


The earlier stage of gum disease. Gingivitis is characterized by bleeding gums, bad breath and minor tooth sensitivity. If left untreated, gingivitis progresses to the more advanced stage of gum disease known as periodontitis.

Gum Disease (Periodontal disease)

Disease of the gums and jaw bone. Gum disease is caused by spread of harmful bacteria to your gum and jaw bone. Gum disease causes bleeding gums, bone loss and tooth loss. Gum disease is categorized as gingivitis and periodontitis.

Impacted Tooth

A tooth which is trapped underneath your jaw bone. Impacted tooth typically refers to wisdom teeth, although other teeth can also be impacted. Impacted wisdom teeth usually need to be removed. Other impacted teeth need to be removed, monitored or uprighted by your orthodontist.

Incisor tooth

The front most four teeth in your upper and lower jaw. Incisor teeth are used to cut food particles. We have 8 total incisors, teeth numbers: 7, 8, 9, 10, 23, 24, 25 and 26.


Spread of harmful bacteria into your tooth nerve. Once cavity bugs reach your tooth nerve, the tooth is now infected. Infected teeth can only be fixed with a root canal or you must remove the tooth completely.


A type of crown which is a hybrid between fillings and crowns. Inlays are essentially conservative crowns which protect teeth similar to a crown but are conservative similar to a filling. Inlays are smaller than onlays and do not encompass your outer tooth walls.

Molar tooth

Teeth located in the back of our mouth which have four cusps. Molar teeth are large and used to crush food particles. We have 8 total molars, teeth numbers: 2, 3, 14, 15, 18, 19, 30 and 31. Additionally, some of us have 3rd molars or wisdom teeth which are teeth numbers: 1, 16, 17 and 32.


Refer to pulp please.

Night guard

A device worn at nights to protect your teeth against grinding. Night guards help reduce tooth fracture, TMJ pain and headaches. There are two types of night guards, generic night guards which you purchase online or from a local pharmacy and custom night guards which your dentist makes for you.


A type of crown which is a hybrid between fillings and crowns. Onlays are essentially conservative crowns which protect teeth similar to a crown but are conservative similar to a filling. Onlays are larger than inlays and encompass at least one or more of your outer tooth walls.

Partial Denture

A set of false teeth which replaces some, but not all, of your missing teeth. Partial dentures are held in place by anchoring to your remaining teeth as well as suction against your gum tissue. Partial dentures can be made from different material including metals, acrylic and flexible resin.

Periodontal disease

Refer to gum disease please.


The more advanced stage of gum disease. Periodontitis is characterized by bone loss, major tooth sensitivity and loose teeth. If left untreated, periodontitis causes your teeth to loosen and fall out. Plus, the resulting infection can spread to the rest of your body and affect your overall health.

Premolar tooth (bicsupid)

Transitional teeth between our front and molar teeth. Premolars have two cusps and are used to crush food particles. They are also the teeth most commonly removed for braces treatment. We have 8 total bisupids, teeth numbers: 4, 5, 12, 13, 20, 21, 28 and 29.

Pulp (nerve)

The innermost tooth layer which lies underneath your dentin. Your tooth pulp contains nerves and blood vessels. When your tooth pulp becomes damaged this results in a toothache. Once this happens, you require a root canal treatment or must remove the tooth.


Pulpotomy is the equivalent of a baby root canal. It entails removing the nerve structure from infected baby teeth. Performing a pulpotomy eliminates toothache while allowing your child to keep the tooth itself in order to prevent potential orthodontic complications.

Root canal treatment

A procedure to remove infected tooth nerve to eliminate pain and infection. During root canal treatment your dentist will disinfect your tooth and replace the missing nerve with sterile material known as Gutta Percha. Root canal treatment eliminates pain and infection and allows you to keep the tooth.

Scaling & root planning

Refer to deep cleaning please.


A preventive treatment used to protect children’s teeth. Dental sealants are placed on teeth with deep groves, typically molars, to protect them against tooth decay and infection. Sealants are very effective and safe and do not require any tooth structure removal.


Techniques used to calm patients with anxiety during dental treatment. There are many different sedation techniques in dentistry such as Nitrous Oxide, oral conscious sedation, IV sedation and general anesthesia.

Silver filling

Refer to Amalgam please.

Simple cleaning

A dental cleaning performed in absence of gum disease. Simple cleanings typically entail basic tooth scraping and polishing, occasionally with Fluoride treatment. Most people require a simple cleaning once every 6 months, although if you’re suffering from gum disease you need one every 3 to 4 months.

Third molar

Refer to wisdom tooth please.

White filling

Refer to composite resin please.

Wisdom tooth (third molar)

Tooth which is located all the way in the back of your mouth. Wisdom teeth start erupting in your late teens or twenties. Not everyone has wisdom teeth. For those that do, there’s a high probability that you have to remove these teeth. Otherwise, they will cause pain, swelling and infection.

Oceansight Dental & Implants

General, Cosmetic & Implant Dentistry

Office of Ali John Jazayeri

133 Avenida Granda

San Clemente, CA 92672


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