There are different situations when a person may be missing teeth: illness, trauma, genetics, etc. When an irretrievably broken tooth cannot be restored with a crown, the dentist can suggest you to remove it. In this case, you will have two options: implants or bridgework. A typical dental bridge consists of one or more artificial teeth called “pontics” and crowing teeth (also called “abutment” teeth) on both sides of a gap created by a missing tooth or teeth. Having your tooth replaced is very important to prevent adjacent teeth from shifting into the gap left by the missing tooth. Bridges are often necessary to maintain the quality of life patients. In addition to keeping a pleasant smile, bridges can help with chewing and speaking.
When Is a Dental Bridge the Best Option?
All patients who are missing from 1 to 3 consecutive teeth are candidates for dental bridge. If a patient has more teeth missing dental implants or removable denture will be a better option. To be a good candidate for a dental bridge you should have healthy teeth (have strong roots, no cavities) on both sides of a toothless gap (or at least from one side) and no gum diseases. In case of any disease or cavity, you will undergo a special treatment before placing the bridge.
What Are the Benefits of Dental Bridges?
A dental bridge is a lightweight dental restoration that needs a short time to get used to. Moreover, as the bridge is a fixed device, it doesn’t require periodic removal and special cleaning. Dental bridges can help you to:
- Save your natural smile and face shape
- Provide chewing comfort
- Save normal speaking ability
- Prevent remaining teeth from drifting
- Form the right bite
- Prevent from jaw problems, such as temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder
- Decrease the chance of gum diseases
Types of Bridges Available
There are several types of dental bridges depending on the manner of fixing.
- Traditional Bridges
This is the most common type of bridge. Traditional bridges are used when a patient has original teeth or implants on both sides of a gap. The procedure of getting a traditional bridge involves creating crowns on the teeth or implants on both sides of the missing tooth with a so-called pontic (replacement tooth) in between.
- Maryland Bridges
Maryland bridges are also called resin-bonded bridges. They are made of plastic teeth and gums with a metal framework. The bridge is bonded to surrounding teeth with the help of metal wings. Supporting teeth remain almost untouchable by a Maryland bridge. There is no need to trim them down in order to place the crown. A Maryland bridge is a good option for those who are missing a front tooth.
- Cantilever Bridges
This type of bridge provides support for pontic only on one side of the missing tooth. The cantilever bridge is the option in the following situations: when a patient doesn’t have teeth on both sides of the toothless breach; because of aesthetics, it is not desirable to prepare teeth on both sides; the abutment tooth already supports other bridge.
Bridge Material Options Available
We are making dental bridges from different materials. If you need to replace anterior teeth, we offer you porcelain-fused-to-zirconia (PFZ) and E-max bridges. For posterior teeth replacement, we provide you with E-max, zirconia, and PFM (porcelain-fused-to-zirconia) dental bridges.
The Procedure of Getting Dental Bridge: Step by Step
Having your dental bridge applies requires a minimum of 2 visits. There are a few steps needed to restore your smile:
Step 1. Examination
At first visit, the dentist will examine your teeth and mouth. Depending on the problem you have, the dentist will offer you an individual treatment plan, if needed, and the type of dental bridge more suitable for your situation.
Step 2. Preparation
The dentist prepares your teeth for getting a dental bridge. Preparation includes reshaping the supporting teeth by removing some enamel. It is necessary in order to fit the crowns over the teeth that hold the bridge in place. Next, an impression is taken to create a customized model of crowns, bridge, and pontic. To test if the bridge fits and feels comfortable, the dentist will apply temporarily for 1-2 weeks. After a couple of weeks, the bridge will be permanently cemented into place.
Step 3. Getting Applied
As soon as dental laboratory crafts your crowns and bridge, you will have the next visit to your dentist. During this visit, the temporary bridge is removed and the necessary adjustments are made. Make sure that your bridge is functioning properly, doesn’t interfere with your bite and creates an aesthetic smile. If everything fits perfectly, the permanent bridge will be set with the use of special adhesive and will be in place permanently.
Step 4. Follow-up Visit
During the follow-up visit, the dentist will check the bridge and provide you with further instructions. When your new bridge is applied, try to be careful and eat soft food within the first days. Let yourself get used to your bridge: after some time it should feel like your natural teeth.
Is It Painful to Having a Bridge Applied?
No, the procedure of applying a dental bridge is not painful. Only the preparation stage may cause unpleasant feelings, but it is usually performed with the use of local anesthesia. Temporary bridges may sometimes cause a little pain and discomfort. In this case, you can use over-the-counter pain medications to survive this short period.
How Long Does Dental Bridge Last?
If applied properly, dental bridges are very durable and last for many years. One of the possible reasons why bridges can fail is because of cavities developed in abutment teeth. So, try to keep your oral hygiene and don’t forget about regular dental check-ups. These preventive measures will help prolong the life of your dental bridge.
Can Dental Bridges Fall Out?
Dental bridges do not fall out easily. Over time, some patients may experience their bridges loosening. If you experience this, you can make an appointment with your dentist to have them tightened. With proper dental care and oral health, your dental bridges can last your lifetime.
Can Dental Bridges be Whitened?
When your dental bridges are made from porcelain which looks like your natural teeth. Porcelain false teeth can’t be whitened using normal teeth whitening products. If you are planning to whiten your teeth, it’s important to speak to your dentist. At home, you can brush regularly and avoid foods and drinks that will stain your teeth to keep them white. Keeping your regular dental appointments will also help you keep your teeth white.
Are Dental Bridges Uncomfortable?
Dental bridges should not be uncomfortable. If they are, it may mean that your bridges aren’t properly fitted. Some common issues are bridges feeling bulky, tight, or teeth touching when you bite down. If you’re feeling any discomfort or have any questions about your bridges, it’s important to call your dentist’s office. Your dentist will be able to determine if an appointment needs to be scheduled to adjust your fitting or if you’re experiencing some other dental problem.
Dental Bridges vs Dental Implants
It’s important to consult your cosmetic dentist about this decision. There are many reasons why you may choose bridges or implants. Both options are available in porcelain, which matches your natural teeth very well. Both dental implants and bridges are great options if you have experienced tooth loss or tooth decay. While dental implants are more durable and last longer, bridges are more affordable. In addition to being cost-effective, bridges are often a quicker process. Bridges also do not require bone-grafting. It’s not uncommon in cosmetic dentistry for a dentist to use a combination of bridges, implants, and crowns for one patient. Your dentist will make the decision based on your specific needs.
Are Dental Bridges Expensive?
Dental bridges are one of the most cost-effective cosmetic dentistry procedures. Our dentists offer several different payment options and accept dental insurance. If you have questions about paying for dental bridges or dental work, make sure to ask our dental team when you make your appointment.
Caring of Your Dental Bridge
Taking good care of your dental bridge is important. Until you get accustomed to your new dental bridge, eat soft or cut in pieces food. Keep good oral hygiene as a part of your daily routine. Brush your teeth after every meal with a soft toothbrush. Flossing every day will help clean hard-to-reach areas between the bridge and neighboring teeth as well as prevent you from infections. It also recommended having dental cleanings by a professional Simi Valley dentist and to consult your dentist about teeth whitening. Please give our dental office a call for a complimentary evaluation.