Patients who are missing several consecutive teeth may consider a dental bridge. A dental bridge is a dental restoration designed to replace multiple missing teeth, lost teeth due to an accident, or tooth decay.
Bridges are fabricated to match your teeth and give you a natural-looking smile. The device is anchored securely onto abutments on either side for support. These abutments can either be the patient’s natural teeth or dental implants. A dental bridge is carefully shaped and fitted to follow the contours of the patient’s mouth.
A removable dental bridge is a cost-effective solution for missing teeth. A dental bridge can be secured using adjacent teeth, or for a more stable option, can be anchored to dental implants. Dr. Dham commonly recommends that patients secure their dental bridge using dental implants for a more secure, and lasting result. Implant-secured bridges give patients full function back to their bite and reduce the risk of bone deterioration.
If you and your dentist agree that a dental bridge is the best solution for you, he or she will choose among three types of bridges:
- Fixed bridges: A fixed bridge is a prosthesis that attaches to crowns placed over the anchor teeth or implants.
- Resin bridges: A resin bonded bridge is one that attaches to natural teeth without crowns. Resin bonded bridges are only fitted if the abutment teeth show no signs of decay or other damage.
- Cantilever bridges: Cantilever bridges are used when one of the abutment teeth is natural and the other is crowned.
A comprehensive oral health checkup can help Dr. Dham determine which missing tooth replacement option will offer you optimal results. For patients who choose a dental bridge, Dr. Dham will explain the procedure in detail so that they fully understand their treatment plan.
The best candidates for dental bridges are patients who understand the importance of oral hygiene, who brush and floss their teeth regularly, and who visit their dentists twice a year for a checkup and professional teeth cleaning. Post-treatment care is crucial for the longevity and success of your restoration.
The Dental Bridge Process
Patients who are to receive a removable dental bridge will have their adjacent teeth prepared before the bridge is placed. A substantial amount of tooth enamel is removed from the healthy teeth to allow room for the bridge.
Once the teeth are prepared, Dr. Dham will take digital images of the area to create a 3-D model used to design the final restoration.
If patients choose to secure their bridge with dental implants, Dr. Dham will coordinate the surgical phase of treatment. Implants will be left to heal for 3-6 months before the patient is fit with their final restoration. During a process called osseointegration, the implants will fuse with the jaw bone.
Once healed from the initial placement of the implants, Dr. Dham will work with you to custom design a dental restoration that will fit securely and look as natural as possible. Westside Dental Center uses the most modern, life-like dental materials to create a restoration that is barely distinguishable from your natural teeth. Bridges are designed to match the exact color, shape, and size of your natural teeth.
Although a dental bridge will allow you to chew, it’s not as strong as your natural teeth. Biting down on hard foods can also harm your bridge and the abutment teeth that hold it in place. With proper oral hygiene and reasonable caution about the foods you eat, you should be able to maintain a new dental bridge for 10 to 15 years. We also recommend that patients schedule regular visits to our office, so we can examine the health of their restoration as well as their overall oral health.
Dental Bridge FAQ’s
Do you have further questions about restoration with a dental bridge? Continue reading to find answers to questions that are frequently asked in our office.
Can a bridge be removed and put back on?
If your bridge has become loose or falls out, we can usually fix it by recementing it into place. However, bridge cement is made to last for years, so it’s not always possible to remove a bridge without damaging the teeth supporting it.
Do dental bridges stain?
The porcelain used to create bridges and dentures can stain from coffee, tea, wine, and other dark or acidic beverages. Dentures and bridges can’t be cleaned properly by the patient, so seeing a dentist for professional whitening is recommended.
How long after a bridge can I eat?
When you initially get a permanent crown, you should avoid eating anything sticky for at least 24 hours. After 24 hours, you may resume your regular diet and oral hygiene routine.
How long does it take for a dental bridge to feel normal?
Your bridge will need some time to get used to, so don’t stress over it too much. Usually, people need around two weeks to feel completely comfortable with their bridge. Maintaining a comfortable temperature when eating foods that are neither too hot nor too cold is also a great way to promote healing. You may also use sensitive-teeth toothpaste for the first few days to lessen the pain and sensitivity.