If you have suffered from tooth loss, you know just how hard it can be to complete daily tasks, like eating, speaking clearly, and smiling with confidence. Fortunately, just because you’re missing a tooth or two doesn’t mean that you need to go forward without it. At Epic Family Dentistry of Carrollton, we offer dental bridges to fill in those missing gaps. To learn more about custom-made restorations to complete your smile, contact our office to schedule your consultation.
A dental bridge is a type of restoration that is used to replace one or more missing teeth in a row. This can span anywhere from one to four teeth. The bridge is composed of two crowns and one or more replacement teeth known as “pontics.” The crowns are anchored onto the healthy adjacent teeth or dental implants (depending on the type of bridge you opt for.) The bridge is made from a highly durable and natural-looking material to closely mimic your natural teeth.
If we determine that you make a good candidate for a dental bridge, there are two different types that you could end up with. Here is what each one consists of:
If you still have healthy teeth on each side of the gap that needs to be filled in, a traditional bridge is ideal. The teeth that support dental crowns are known as “abutment teeth,” and they need to be slightly altered in order for the bridge to fit properly. This type of restoration can be placed in just a few visits, and they are generally more affordable than their implant alternative.
Dental implant bridges can be used when there are three or more missing teeth in a row. Instead of being placed over abutment teeth, the crowns are secured to the titanium implants that are surgically placed into the jawbone to act as tooth roots. Implant bridges last longer than traditional bridges, and they help to prevent jawbone deterioration in the future as a result of tooth loss.
A dental bridge is a cost-effective option for replacing missing teeth. In addition to providing strength and stability for chewing and speaking clearly, bridges help to maintain the shape of your face. They also keep your natural teeth from shifting out of place, therefore preventing alignment problems and discomfort due to dental drift.
Replacing a tooth is always a major change, so it’s only natural to have questions and concerns about the process. Is there anything you want to know about your new dental bridge, how it will be placed, and what you can expect afterwards? Our Epic Family Dentistry team will be happy to help you find the answers you’re looking for during your visit. In the meantime, check to see if your inquiry is among the FAQs listed below.
When preparing the teeth that will support the bridge, we will use a local anesthetic to numb the area and keep you comfortable. After the procedure, your teeth may be unusually sensitive for the next few days. You can take over-the-counter medication to help with the discomfort, which should fade over time. If the discomfort grows worse or doesn’t go away when it’s supposed to, call our office right away so that we can advise you on your next steps.
It's worth remembering that in the long term, dental bridges can actually save you from discomfort. When you lose a tooth, the remaining teeth may start to drift, which can sometimes cause pain and a number of health problems. Filling the space in your mouth with a bridge helps prevent dental drift.
A traditional dental bridge can be used to replace up to four consecutive teeth, although most bridges only replace one or two at a time. The reason is because longer bridges tend to be less stable, making them more prone to issues. This is especially true if the teeth supporting the bridge weren’t strong and healthy in the first place.
It will take some time to get used to your dental bridge, but after a few days it should start to feel natural in your mouth. The materials used to make your bridge are highly durable and can easily stand up to the forces of chewing, allowing you to eat like you normally would. Furthermore, your bridge will be fully custom-made to fit perfectly on your teeth; as such, you may not even notice it when you’re eating, speaking or smiling. You might be able to tell a slight difference between your bridge and your natural teeth when you run your tongue along them, but for the most part, your restoration will feel like a natural part of your mouth.
Dental bridges are not made of natural tooth enamel, so they can’t get cavities. However, the teeth supporting them are another story. Any food debris that gets caught underneath your bridge could drawn in harmful bacteria that attack the teeth, potentially causing decay. If you want to avoid this, be sure to brush under and around your bridge every day to remove any food or bacteria buildup. Also, you should have an older bridge replaced if the cement anchoring it in place starts to crack, which could create an additional opening for a bacteria attack.