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Which Dental Appliance Is Right For You?

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Dentures or false teeth aren't just for older persons, as these appliances can replace a mouthful of chipped teeth, rotted teeth or teeth that need to be pulled due to disease or injury. These types of oral conditions affect anyone of any age. 

While dentures can be needed for those who are missing a full set of teeth, there are also other options you have for replacing just a few missing or damaged teeth. Note some details about those options here and then discuss your choices and healthcare needs with your dentist.

Fixed bridges

Bridges are called that because they are false teeth that sit between other teeth, forming a bridge between them. A bridge can be one tooth or it can be made of a row of several teeth. Fixed bridges use a type of attachment that is cemented to the real teeth, keeping that artificial tooth or line of teeth in place. 

A fixed bridge is a good choice if you don't need to replace your entire upper or lower line of teeth, and since the bridge doesn't need to be taken out and cleaned every night, as do dentures, this makes them very convenient to wear. However, note that the real teeth around the gap in your mouth need to be strong enough to hold the cement or adhesion of that fixed bridge. If your jaw line is weakened due to bone loss or disease, or teeth are weak due to erosion or just age, a fixed bridge may not be an option for you.

Caps or crowns

In some cases your teeth may simply be worn down due to erosion or cavities, which might expose nerves or the tooth pulp, making it painful to eat or drink. Worn teeth may also look very unsightly. 

You may not need to have such teeth pulled if their roots are strong but can have them covered with caps or crowns. These appliances are coverings that slide over the teeth and which are then cemented into place. A cap or crown is very strong and will cover those exposed nerves or tooth pulp.

Caps or crowns can also be used as a type of fixed bridge. Rather than having a full artificial tooth on that bridge, the appliance may simply hold a crown or row of crowns that slide over damaged teeth. As with standard fixed bridges, you don't need to remove this appliance and clean it every night, and don't need to have teeth pulled to have this type of bridge fitted in place.