The Dental Bridge: Protect Your Oral Health With a Replacement Tooth
Regain your ability to chew and speak comfortably with a dental bridge.
A missing tooth is a common dental issue that requires effective treatment to maintain oral health and restore the appearance of a patient’s smile. A dental bridge is one tooth replacement option that can provide great results in a wide range of situations.
A bridge is a porcelain or ceramic tooth replacement that literally bridges the gap left by one or more missing teeth. It relies on adjacent teeth for support, giving it a strong and lasting foundation that makes eating and speaking naturally possible.
Reasons You May Need a Dental Bridge
A dental bridge is one potential option to consider for any patient who is missing one or more teeth. If you’re missing a tooth or have an upcoming tooth extraction, then a bridge is likely one of the restorative dentistry options you’ll discuss with your dentist.
For example, a bridge is likely to be a suitable option if you’re missing a tooth between two healthy teeth. The same is true if you’re missing several teeth in a row, depending on the specific location.
A bridge isn’t a solution for individuals missing all or nearly all of their teeth, as the bridge relies on healthy teeth on either end to serve as a foundation. And if you have a single heavily decayed or damaged tooth, a dental crown could be a more appropriate treatment option.
The Benefits of a Dental Bridge
Replacing a missing tooth with a dental bridge provides patients with several key benefits in terms of their quality of life and their long-term oral health.
First, the bridge restores a full and natural-looking smile. Your bridge will be custom-made to match the appearance of your natural teeth and be practically unnoticeable. This can do wonders for a patient’s self-confidence and willingness to show off their newly restored smile.
A dental bridge can also help with chewing problems. Depending on the specific missing tooth, a patient might have trouble chewing or at least have to deal with bits of food getting caught in the gap. A bridge restores natural chewing ability thanks to its strong foundation.
Patients with missing teeth can develop serious dental issues if a suitable replacement isn’t sought out. A gap allows other teeth to shift and leave their proper positions. This can lead to bite misalignment, crowding, grinding, and other issues that will require orthodontic intervention or further (often more expensive) treatment.
A bridge prevents teeth from moving into the gap and provides resistance to any shifting because it is firmly attached to the two surrounding teeth, preventing a wide range of long-term dental issues.
The Dental Bridge Process
If you’re missing a tooth or have an upcoming extraction, your dentist will develop a treatment plan with you. That plan may include a dental bridge, and if so, the treatment process can begin once you and your dentist are comfortable with the course of treatment.
First, the teeth that will support the bridge (called abutment teeth) are prepared. The dentist will remove material from them to create a suitable base for the bridge. This process is the same as that used for individual crowns. After the teeth are prepared, a temporary bridge will protect the teeth until the final bridge is ready.
An impression of your abutment teeth is needed to plan the size and dimensions of the bridge. At Davis Family Dental Care, we use the latest scanning technology to create digital impressions. This allows for faster and more accurate measurements and lets patients skip the unpleasant process of taking impressions.
The digital impression and measurements are then sent to a dental lab that creates custom bridges. Your bridge will be tailored to your exact needs and matched to the natural shade of your teeth.
Once the bridge is ready, the dentist will check the fit and place it on the abutment teeth. The bridge is held in place with dental cement, providing a strong and lasting bond that will stand up to everyday use.
Other Tooth Replacement Options
Dental bridges are far from the only tooth replacement option. Dental implants are another potential option that can be used in many of the same situations. In fact, dental implants can be used to support an implant bridge, instead of relying on natural teeth for support.
In some cases, a partial denture may be used instead of a dental bridge. This is a removable appliance that can restore the appearance and function of your teeth without the need to alter your natural teeth. If you’re unsure which option is right for you, you should reach out to Davis Family Dental Care. Our Bedford dentists can help develop a personalized treatment plan that will best address your unique needs. Contact our office to schedule your appointment today.