Are you missing one or more of your teeth? Rest assured, you are not alone. The American Dental Association reports that most adults between 20 and 64 years have around three decayed or missing teeth. Fortunately, there are various restorative options available to you, including dental bridges. There is no reason for you to hide your smile anymore!
WHAT IS A DENTAL BRIDGE?
Dental bridges act like partial dentures, literally “bridging” any gaps created by one or more missing teeth. Unlike partials, a bridge is permanently cemented in and therefore is not removable. The bridge is attached to two or more crowns on neighboring teeth. These two or more anchoring teeth are otherwise known as abutment teeth, with false teeth known as pontics in between. Your natural teeth or dental implants support your dental bridges.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS?
Dental bridges can restore your smile and your ability to chew and speak normally. They also maintain the shape of your face, and distribute the forces in your bite, preventing neighboring teeth from drifting out of their position. Missing teeth can result in a change in your bite and temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ) and may pose an increased risk for gum disease and tooth decay. Dental bridges can help prevent these conditions and promote your oral health.
TYPES OF DENTAL BRIDGES
Traditional Dental Bridges involve cementing crowns on teeth or dental implants on either side of the missing tooth or teeth, with pontics, or artificial teeth held in between. These are the most common types of bridges used today and are usually made of either porcelain fused to metal or ceramic.
Cantilever Bridges are effective restorations when there are adjacent teeth only on one side of the missing tooth or teeth. Cantilever bridges work like traditional bridges, except that the pontic is supported on one side, rather than on both sides. So if you only have one tooth next to the missing one, replacement teeth can still be secured. These restorations act as levers in some cases, resulting in complications such as fractured teeth or loosened crowns.
Implant supported bridges are another option for replacing missing teeth. They are successfully used when more than one tooth is missing. Instead of support using crowns or frameworks, these bridges are attached to dental implants. Implant supported bridges feel secure and comfortable, just like natural teeth. They also act as tooth root replacements, stabilizing the jaw bone and preventing bone loss.
WHAT IS THE PROCEDURE?
During your first visit, we will examine the health of your gums and remaining teeth to evaluate if dental bridges will work for you. The procedure depends on the type of bridge chosen to replace your missing teeth.
If you opt for implant supported bridges, we will first augment the jaw bone if needed, then surgically implant the titanium posts that will be the base for your restoration. Severely damaged or decayed teeth may require extraction in preparation for your implant supported bridges.
During the procedure, you will first be given a local anesthetic so that we can prepare the teeth required to support the bridges. If they are decayed or broken down, we may have to build them back up before we can use them as support teeth.
During the next step, we will make an impression of your mouth to create a model which will be used to fabricate your bridge so that it precisely fits the prepared teeth. A perfect fit is essential to avoid additional oral health problems such as tooth decay. We may provide you with a temporary bridge to protect your teeth and gums from any damage.
You will return to our office for a second visit to have your new bridge fitted and cemented. We will provide you with information to maintain the performance and extend the life of your restoration. Your dental bridges can last five to 15 years or even longer with good oral hygiene and regular checkups.
HOW DO I CARE FOR A BRIDGE?
It is necessary to brush your teeth and floss regularly. This helps prevent tooth decay and gum disease that can lead to tooth loss. Consuming a balanced diet filled with essential nutrients also promotes your dental health. Make sure to schedule regular cleanings so that we can diagnose and treat any conditions at an early stage when the treatment has a better prognoses.
SCHEDULE YOUR APPOINTMENT TODAY
Visit us at Fortson Dentistry to learn more about restoring your teeth and smile with dental bridges. We will answer any questions and help you determine the best dental restoration for you. You can rest assured that our highly trained and experienced team will offer you services second to none!