When you lose a tooth, it can be frightening and embarrassing. Unfortunately, most people who have suffered a tooth loss tend to minimize the importance of losing a tooth. When you lose a tooth, if the gap is not filled in some way, your other teeth may pull out of their sockets to shift into the gap. This is painful, and can lead to a number of other dental issues as well. Additionally, patients may begin to experience gum and bone loss if the tooth is not replaced. A Dental bridge provides an excellent solution to this serious dental issue.
What is a dental bridge?
A dental bridge is a non-removable dental prosthetic that is used to replace a missing tooth or teeth. There are several types of dental bridges that your dentist may use, and they will discuss you options with you fully before making a decision.
The most popular type of dental bridge is known as a "traditional bridge" and is usually made of a porcelain replacement tooth fused to a metal base, with two crowns on either side. These crowns will be fitted over anchoring, or abutment, teeth on either side of the gap, and hold the fixed bridge in place. Porcelain bridges are the most popular type available because they are naturally tooth-colored.
Why get a fixed bridge?
As stated above, having a missing tooth can be a serious problem and lead to the need for a number of more complicated and expensive dental treatments later. Eventually missing teeth can lead to an incorrect bite, changes in facial appearance and shape, and a compromised ability to chew correctly and speak clearly. Getting a fixed bridge:
- Fills the space left by missing teeth
- Prevents remaining teeth from driving out of position
- Restores and maintains the natural shape of your face
- Restores your ability to chew and speak naturally and correctly
- Restores the natural appearance of your smile
Fixed dental bridges are also often used as an upgrade to a removable partial denture.
What is involved in getting a fixed dental bridge?
Getting a dental bridge will generally require two or more visits to your dentist's office. During your first visit, your dentist will first clean and thoroughly examine your teeth and the gap. This is necessary to make sure the teeth on either side of the gap are strong enough to support a bridge. If not, your dentist may apply a dental composite or resin to help strengthen them. The area around the gap will then be numbed, and the two anchoring teeth will be prepared by having a portion of the enamel removed. This will allow the anchoring dental crowns to be put into place. Next, your dentist will take a mold of your teeth and the gap in between that will be sent to a dental laboratory where your fixed bridge will be made. This process generally takes anywhere from two to three weeks. In the meantime, your dentist will create and place a temporary bridge until your next appointment.
During your second appointment, your dentist will test the fit of your dental bridge to ensure that they are comfortable and fit properly. They may perform some adjustments before cementing the bridge into place. In some cases, your dentist will first apply a temporary dental cement to the bridge in order to give your remaining teeth and gum tissue time to get used to the new bridge. This also allows you to test out the bridge to ensure that it is snug and comfortable. Once your dentist is sure that the bridge fits properly and requires no further adjustments, they will permanently cement it into place.
Once your dental bridge is in place, you will need to continue to follow proper brushing and flossing procedures. You will also need to ensure that you schedule regular visits to your dentist's office to allow your dentist to check the fit of the bridge and make any necessary adjustments. This also gives your dentist the opportunity to check for any damage and make any necessary repairs to the bridge that may need to be made.
Are You a Candidate for a Dental Bridge?
The best candidates for dental bridges are those patients who have one or more missing teeth that are surrounded by healthy teeth on either side. If the surrounding teeth are unhealthy but treatable, you may still be a good candidate for dental bridges as well. Those who do not make good candidates for dental bridges include young children who do not have their full set of permanent teeth, and individuals whose gap is surrounded by teeth that are badly decayed or otherwise unhealthy.
If you would like to know more about dental bridges or are wondering if you would make a good candidate for a dental bridge, call our office today at 310-378-9241 to schedule a consultation. Our caring and professional staff has had years of experience helping patients who are missing one or more teeth. We will be happy to help you restore your smile to its natural beauty by installing a fixed dental bridge. Don't let a missing tooth or teeth hold you back; call our office today about having a dental bridge put in place.