What is a Dental Bridge?
Dental bridges act as the name implies: bridging the gap created by one or more missing teeth and supported by natural teeth or implants. You can have a bridge if you have enough strong teeth with good bone support. A fixed dental bridge is one of the most common ways to replace missing teeth because they can effectively provide you with a natural-looking smile that will last for years to come.
When it comes to bridging gaps in your smile, there are a number of different fixed, or non-removable bridges you can use. Dr. Bainer will help you select the best one for you. Most bridges consist of artificial teeth called pontics, which are anchored to the adjacent teeth by using two crowns. When describing bridges, the adjacent teeth are referred to as abutment teeth.
A bridge is comprised of two or more crowns for the teeth on either side of the gap and an artificial tooth/teeth in between. Such false teeth are called pontics and are usually made from gold, alloys, porcelain, or a combination. Dental bridges help close the gaps in your smile.
Why Do I Need a Bridge?
Bridges can fill the space of missing teeth, giving you a confident and radiant smile.
Bridges help support and maintain facial shape.
Bridges also help prevent your remaining teeth from shifting out of position over time. Not only is this an aesthetic improvement but it can also help you chew and speak normally.
Bridges are also an upgrade from a
removable partial denture, functioning as a temporary solution.
A missing tooth can be a serious medical issue which should be evaluated by a dentist. Teeth are created to function together. A lost tooth can cause the adjacent teeth to tilt or drift into the unoccupied space. The teeth in the opposite jaw may also shift up or down toward the empty space. This can affect your bite and add more pressure on your teeth and jaw joints, possibly causing discomfort and pain.
Teeth that have tipped or slightly shifted are also harder to clean, putting them at a greater risk for tooth decay and gum disease. When a tooth is missing, the bone may shrink which can alter how the jawbone supports the lips and cheeks. As time passes, this can cause your face to look older.
Even if an individual has experienced bone degeneration, he or she may still be able to receive an implant-supported bridge. Progressive procedures, such as bone grafting or sinus lifts, allow dentists to improve their patient’s jaw and create a sturdy foundation for dental implants.
Contact us if you’re interested in a free consultation with Dr. Bainer in Escondido for a dental bridge.
Can I have a bridge fitted after having a tooth extracted?
It can take up to 6 months for your gums to heal properly after having a tooth removed. You may need to get a temporary denture before the bridge is fitted.
What are the Different Types of Dental Bridges?
There are three main types of dental bridges:
Traditional Bridges are the most commonly used type of dental bridge. They are made of either porcelain fused to metal or ceramics. These bridges create a crown for the tooth or implant on either side of the missing tooth, with a pontic in between.
Cantilever Bridges are the least used type of dental bridge. It is applied when there are adjacent teeth on only one side of the missing tooth or teeth.
Maryland Bridges are made of porcelain, porcelain fused to metal, or plastic teeth and gums supported by a metal or porcelain framework. Metal or porcelain wings often on just one side of the bridge are bonded to your existing teeth.
Implant Supported Bridges can be placed when you are missing more than one tooth and supported by dental implants. Usually, one implant is placed for every missing tooth, and this series of implants holds the bridge in place. However, the bridge may consist of a pontic suspended between two implant-supported crowns if placing one implant for every lost tooth isn’t possible.
Because such bridges are anchored by implants, they feel secure and comfortable, similar to the natural teeth they replace. However, two surgeries are required to place the bridge which is a disadvantage. The first surgery places the implants and the second secures the bridge.
Regardless of the type of bridge a patient receives, the replacement will have tremendous aesthetic and practical benefits. The new teeth will revive dental functionality and improve oral health. Furthermore, thanks to recent advancements in dental technology and aesthetics, today’s dental bridges are difficult to differentiate from natural teeth.
How Long Do Dental Bridges Last?
Fixed dental bridges can last for more than a decade if maintained with proper oral care and regular dental cleanings.
Will the Dental Bridge Affect My Speech?
Missing teeth can produce slurred speech. It is tough to speak proficiently when a few teeth are missing. A dental bridge is the answer.
What Is the Process for Getting a Dental Bridge?
Since the bridge procedure has a couple of different elements involved, you will likely require two dental visits to complete the procedure.
During your first visit for getting a dental bridge, the abutment teeth are prepared. Your teeth will be numbed and the two anchoring teeth (adjacent to the gap) will be assembled for the bridge. This involves carefully sculpting the enamel so your dentist can install a crown on each of the supporting teeth. Then, the dentist takes impressions of the teeth to use as a model for the dental lab. In the meantime, your dentist will make a temporary bridge for you to wear so your remaining teeth and gums are protected.
During the second visit, your temporary bridge will be taken out and the new porcelain or metal bridge will be put in place and adjusted as needed for a precise fit. This process involves carefully checking the bridge and making sure it aligns perfectly with your teeth and your bite. Your dentist will patiently adjust the bridge so that it fits just right, and then cement it into place. For a fixed bridge, your dentist may cement it in place for a couple of weeks to ascertain a precise fit. After this time, if the dentist is sure the fit is just right, the bridge is permanently cemented.
Is Eating Difficult with a Dental Bridge?
When missing teeth are restored, eating becomes much easier. Until you grow accustomed to the bridge, it’s best to eat soft foods in small portions.
What is the Best Way to Maintain My Dental Bridge?
Maintaining the dental bridge relies on the solid foundation offered by the neighboring teeth. It is necessary to keep your existing teeth healthy. Remember to eat a well-balanced diet. Brush your teeth twice a day and floss daily to help prevent tooth decay and gum disease which can make you lose more teeth. Ask your dentist or dental hygienist to properly demonstrate how to brush and floss your teeth. Also, remember to schedule your professional cleanings. Treatment is more effective when medical issues are diagnosed early.
After your visit, your lips, tongue and teeth may be numb for a few hours. Avoid eating until the numbness has worn off. You may experience some pressure, sensitivity or soreness but if it continues more than a couple of days, please call our office. You may also rinse with warm salt water to help reduce the pain and swelling and basic medicines such as Acetaminophen or Ibuprofen can provide relief.
How Much Does A Dental Bridge Cost?
The cost of dental bridges vary depending on the type of bridge and your geographical location where the procedure takes place. Usually, dental insurance will pay a portion of the cost.
What happens if my bridge falls off?
If your dental bridge falls off, save the hardware by placing it inside a zip-lock bag. Please call our office immediately and bring the bridge with you so we can determine if it can be re-cemented. Depending on the condition of the supporting teeth, your dentist may advise re-treating the area with a new replacement or another type of tooth restoration.
By now, you have a fairly thorough understanding of what’s involved when you require a fixed bridge to fill a gap in your smile. As you can see, it’s a straightforward and effective technique that guarantees a full smile for years to come.
If you still have questions, please call
Dr. Bainer’s office. One of our team members will be happy to answer any questions and schedule an appointment that works for you with one of our dental specialists for a fixed dental bridge in Escondido.