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What’s the Difference Between a Bridge and Dentures?

When you’re missing a tooth or teeth, you probably want to know your options for replacement. A full set of teeth not only look good, they are functional. They help us chew and bite. The set of teeth works together and is most effective when there aren’t gaps or missing teeth. What are your options for replacing missing teeth and what’s the difference between bridges and dentures?

The simple answer is that a dental bridge is a fixed (permanent) restoration, while partial dentures are removable. Dental implants are permanent, and inserted into the gums and jaw bone, to mimic your natural teeth. Here’s more about how they work.


Like it sounds, a dental bridge spans the missing teeth or tooth gap. It’s attached to both sides, the abutting teeth, and provides a natural-looking and functioning tooth or teeth. Your dentist takes measurements and molds for a custom-made bridge that will look like a set of teeth. Those are permanently attached in your mouth, by securing them on crowns placed over dental implants or natural teeth prepared for the bridge crowns.  


Partial dentures are an option when a person still has some teeth in their mouth. They are natural-looking restorations and are temporarily attached to natural teeth in your mouth using a clasp or precision attachment. You remove them when sleeping. Your dentist might recommend crowns on the teeth where the dentures will attach, to make the spot secure.

Dental implants

If your gums and jaw bone are in good condition, your regular or emergency dentist might recommend implants. These implants are covered with a crown. If the gum and jaw bone aren’t healthy enough for implants, a dental bridge is an option, as it doesn’t go into the jaw or gums, but sits on top of it.

Why do you want to replace a missing tooth?

  • The remaining teeth tend to shift into the empty spot or rotate. This looks bad, and can cause functional problems.
  • Even without teeth moving around, it can look aesthetically displeasing to be missing a tooth or to have a large gap.
  • Missing teeth can sometimes result in gum disease and temporomandibular joint (TMJ) problems.

If you want to learn more about bridges and partial dentures, and the best option for you, contact your dentist in St. Petersburg FL. Those who are nervous or fearful patients at the dentist’s office might want to look into sedation dentistry, a safe and effective option for dentistry.