Does your smile make you feel confident and self-assured, or are you finding that you are smiling less than you used to due to unattractive spaces between your teeth due to having lost a tooth in the past? Tooth loss is not only a cosmetic problem, but it can also lead to pain when biting and chewing, weakened bite force, and even further tooth loss. It may be harder to talk, and you may start to find your face looking haggard and aged.
Dental bridges can help restore a smile that has been affected by tooth loss, and can “bridge” the gap left behind. We here at Summercrest Dental consider dental bridges to be an excellent treatment option for our patients who have suffered from tooth loss.
What is a Dental Bridge?
A fixed dental bridge is natural-looking and attractive type of dental restoration that can help replace a missing tooth. Dental bridges typically consist of one or more supporting crowns, which goes over your own prepared tooth, and a pontic. The pontic is the part of the bridge that resembles a real tooth.
Four Main Types of Dental Bridges
Depending on the location of the tooth loss, we may recommend different types of dental bridges to you. The most common type of dental bridge is the traditional dental bridge. This one is great for most patients and is best for patients who have supporting teeth on either side of the open space. The two teeth on the sides of the opening will be prepared; then a crown will be placed over them. They will support the pontic, allowing it to be strong and sturdy in your mouth.
Cantilever bridges are similar to traditional bridges, but instead of using two crowns, they only require one crown. This is good for patients who only have one natural tooth next to the gap left behind. Another less common type of dental bridge is called a Maryland bridge. This one does not use a crown to support it. Instead, the pontics are supported by two “wings” that sit behind the surrounding teeth to keep it secure and strong in your mouth.
Lastly, some patients may require an implant-supported bridge. This is for patients who have lost more than one tooth and do not have surrounding teeth to support the bridge. They will require a dental implant placed in their mouth to support the bridge.
Fitting a Bridge
When we fit a patient with a dental bridge, we will start with a local anesthetic to ensure that they do not experience any discomfort. The surrounding teeth that will be supporting the bridge will then be prepared and shaped to allow them to accommodate the crown. We will then take impressions of your mouth, which will go to our lab to create your permanent bridge. In the meanwhile, we will fit you with a temporary bridge.
Once your bridge returns to us, we will have you come in for your final fit. We will check to ensure that it comfortable and not causing any discomfort to you. Once we are satisfied that it fits well and is a good bridge for you, we will secure it with dental cement.
Dental bridges are great options for many patients and can last a long time if you take good care of it. To learn more about dental bridges, or to set up an appointment with us here at Summercrest Dental, please give us a call today at (503) 567-8827!