Appropriately named, dental bridges are a bridge to a full smile. Dental bridges fill the gap created by a missing tooth or teeth, and can restore full function for chewing and speaking. Dental bridges are a great replacement option for missing teeth.
Who needs a dental bridge?
People who might need a dental bridge are those with a missing tooth, or missing teeth. Most people are unaware that a missing tooth can cause serious adverse effects.
Dental Bridges can help prevent:
- Shifting teeth– A missing tooth can cause your teeth to shift and become misaligned or form an improper bite, also known as malocclusion. This can bring about other problems such as muscle pain, headaches, and tooth sensitivity.
- Deterioration of the jawbone– If not replaced, a missing tooth can result in bone degradation and weakness in the jaw. The deterioration can even loosen other healthy teeth.
- Receding gums– Once the bone starts to diminish, it could also cause the gums to recede as well, leading to increased sensitivity and disease causing bacteria buildup.
If you have missing teeth, don’t delay treatment. Contact our team at Pacific Dental & Implant Solutions to find out if a dental bridge is the right solution for you.
What is a dental bridge?
A dental bridge is usually made with two or more crowns spaced on either side of the missing tooth or teeth, and joined by a pontic at the center. A pontic is a false tooth that can be made of gold, alloy, or porcelain. The dental bridge is then anchored in the mouth by attaching the crowns to the teeth on either side of the gap. These teeth are called the abutment teeth, and can be natural teeth or dental implants.
What kind of dental bridges are there?
Some types of dental bridges available are:
- The Traditional Dental Bridge is the most common type of bridge. Crowns are customized to fit the teeth or implants on either side of the missing tooth, and connected by a pontic, or fake tooth. Traditional fixed bridges are typically made from porcelain that is fused to metal or ceramic.
- The Cantilever Dental Bridge can be an option for individuals who only have teeth on one side of the missing tooth. A cantilever bridge is made of a pontic that is connected to just one abutment tooth.
- The Maryland Dental Bridge is also known as a resin-bonded bridge or Maryland bonded bridge. This bridge can be made of porcelain fused to metal, and is supported by a porcelain or metal framework. There are wings on each side of the bridge that are bonded to the supporting teeth to keep it in place. The Maryland bridge may be a good option for those missing their front teeth.
What is the process for a dental bridge procedure?
At Pacific Dental & Implant Solutions, our prosthodontist will first need to determine if a dental bridge is the best option to replace your missing teeth. If continuing with this option, your abutment teeth would then be prepared. Part of your enamel and dentin would be removed, making room for a crown to fit. Next, a digital scan or impressions will be made of your teeth. The scan or mold will then be used to create your custom bridge with a pontic and crowns. A temporary bridge may be inserted to protect your exposed teeth and gums while your bridge is being made. Finally, your permanent bridge will then be fitted, any adjustments made, and then fixed in place to restore your smile.
What are the advantages of dental bridges?
Here are some benefits of dental bridges:
- Prevents your remaining teeth from shifting out of place.
- Prevents bone degradation in the jaw and maintains the shape of your face.
- Improves your dental bite by properly distributing bite forces.
- Restores your ability to chew and speak properly.
- Restores your smile and confidence with a natural look and feel.
How to take care of my dental bridges?
To ensure their long lasting success, it is extremely important to properly care for your dental bridges, as well as the remaining healthy teeth surrounding it. You can clean your dental bridges similarly to cleaning your natural teeth.
Dentist recommendations for proper tooth and gum care:
- Brush your teeth twice a day– make sure to get all sides of each tooth, front, back, top or bottom, and near the gum line. Brushing well can decrease the risks of cavities, enamel erosion, and tooth discoloration.
- Floss daily– your dentist can show you how to properly brush and floss. Flossing correctly between teeth and below the gum line reduces plaque and bacteria buildup and prevents gingivitis.
- Eat a well balanced diet– consuming foods and beverages high in sugar and acids can naturally weaken the enamel of your teeth. Instead, including fruits and vegetables rich in fiber can actually help keep your teeth and gums clean.
- Schedule regular cleanings with your dentist– a dentist or hygienist can assist in cleaning parts of your teeth that are in hard to reach spots, where you might have missed or not cleaned thoroughly. Your dentist may also be able to spot and diagnose problems at an earlier stage, allowing treatment to be more effective.
What can I eat with a dental bridge?
If you have a dental bridge, consuming a well balanced diet is recommended. Eating with a dental bridge can actually be easier and healthier for the remaining teeth, than the alternative of chewing foods with a missing tooth. If your dental bridge is new, you may want to eat soft foods or food cut up into smaller pieces at first. When you become accustomed to your dental bridge you might return to your normal eating habits.
How long do dental bridges last?
A well fit dental bridge can be permanently placed. It is unlikely, but possible that a dental bridge can become loose, however, it can easily be reattached as long as the abutment teeth remain healthy. With a good oral hygiene routine and regular professional cleanings, dental bridges can last more than 10 years.
How much does a dental bridge cost?
The cost can vary for a dental bridge to replace missing teeth. Dental insurance companies may cover a percentage of the fee, but the amount of coverage depends on your individual dental plan. Check with your insurance carrier to see what procedures your policy covers.
Dental Bridges vs. Dental Implants: Which is better?
A dental implant is a titanium screw implanted into the jaw bone at the site of a missing or extracted tooth, and can be topped with a metal abutment and porcelain crown. As noted earlier, a dental bridge is made of two or more crowns with a pontic, or fake tooth, at the center. The crowns of a dental bridge are attached to the abutment teeth.
Dental bridges and dental implants can also be used simultaneously. If they would be abutment teeth are also missing, they can be replaced by dental implants. The dental bridge would then be installed by attaching the crowns to the dental implants’ metal abutments.
Choosing which is better, a dental implant or dental bridge, or maybe choosing to use a dental implant and dental bridge together, depends on your individual case. You should consult with our prosthodontist, Dr. Jmi Asam, at Pacific Dental & Implant Solutions to determine which option best fits your needs.
Here at Pacific Dental & Implant Solutions
Our prosthodontist, Dr. Jmi Asam, has over 15 years of experience in her field. At Pacific Dental & Implant Solutions, we use state of the art equipment to help diagnose and tailor treatment to your personal dental needs. Dr. Jmi Asam is passionate about helping you select the best treatment option for you. Contact us to make an appointment for your free consultation.
Pacific Dental & Implant Solutions,
4211 Waialae Ave #102, Honolulu, Hawaii 96816
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