Dental Bridges: Replacing Missing Teeth
Dental bridges are one of the most well known methods for replacing missing teeth. Made of a false crown suspended between two functional crowns, the prosthesis “bridges” the gap of a missing tooth between the two adjacent teeth.
The Need for Bridges
A bridge not only replaces your missing tooth, it also preserves the natural biting patterns throughout your mouth. When you have a missing tooth, other teeth may shift or lean into the empty space. Even the teeth on the opposite arch may seem to “erupt” further out of the socket to find something to bite against. This creates a chain reaction throughout the mouth, leading to complex bite changes and aesthetic concerns. Bridges act as a placeholder, preventing tooth movement caused by missing teeth.
Most dental bridges are placed over adjacent teeth for support. This requires prepping the support teeth the same way we would for a dental crown. If a healthy tooth is not present, then the bridge cannot be placed, as there is nothing to support it.
The bridge treatment process usually takes at least two visits to complete – one for the preparation process and the other to deliver the permanent bridge. We use one of the best dental laboratories in the area to create a customized bridge that implements our strict design protocol.
Bridges can also be placed on top of permanent dental implants. Because a traditional bridge is limited in the length of space it can span, most bridges replace only one or two missing teeth. However, an implant bridge is supported on each end by an actual implant. This means you can replace 3 or 4 teeth at a time. Being that implant bridges require no natural teeth for the treatment, they are an excellent choice in areas where healthy support teeth are not present. Implants can last for an entire lifetime and are one of the most reliable ways to replace missing teeth.
Caring for Your Bridge
To keep the area around your bridge healthy (and extend the life of your restoration,) it’s important to know how to clean around it properly. Otherwise gum disease or tooth decay could impact the supporting teeth and cause failure of the bridge. We recommend using a floss threader or water flosser to clean under and around your bridge at least once a day. Brush the outer surfaces normally, with a soft toothbrush and non-abrasive toothpaste.
If you suffer from clenching or bruxism, you may want to consider wearing a bite splint to prevent damage to your new bridge.
Is a bridge right for you? At Marconi Dental Group we use quality grade porcelain that not only enhances your bite’s function, it also compliments the aesthetics of your smile. If comfort is a concern, no problem – ask about our sedation dentistry options. We’ll help you relax throughout your entire procedure so that it will be a positive experience. Schedule a visit with us today to find out if a bridge is what your smile needs.