If you’re missing one or a few teeth and have adequate jaw bone density, a dental bridge may be the perfect restorative option for you. Contact us at Bow Tie Dentist today to schedule a consultation with Palm Harbor dentist Dr. Saimon Ramos.
A dental bridge is a tooth restoration used to replace missing teeth. Many patients lose teeth due to tooth loss, gum disease, or oral trauma. To avoid the consequences of tooth loss, such as bone loss, shifting teeth, facial sagging, and difficulty chewing or speaking, the tooth must be replaced.
A bridge involves cementing two dental crowns onto the abutment teeth adjacent to the gap in the mouth to support a pontic which fills in the space where the old tooth used to be. The crowns and pontics are all connected. A bridge can replace up to 3 consecutive teeth and is a fixed device that cannot be removed except at the dental office.
They restore the aesthetic of a patient’s smile, restore tooth function such as the ability to chew and speak clearly, and can even prevent bone loss with implant-supported bridges. By replacing missing teeth, you prevent consequences such as shifting teeth, changes in your bite, and changes to your facial structure such as premature facial sagging.
Before getting started with the bridge construction and placement process, you will first need to come in for a consultation with Dr. Ramos. He will examine your teeth and take x-rays to rule out active tooth decay and gum disease.
Any oral health problems that are detected need to be treated before receiving a dental bridge. X-rays can show if you have adequate jaw bone density and structure to support a dental bridge. If you don’t, we may recommend alternatives or bone grafting.
We will administer a local anesthetic to numb your mouth before filing a small amount of tooth structure from the abutment teeth. Filing down the enamel allows us to fit the dental crowns on top of your natural teeth.
We will take digital impressions or physical molds of your teeth and send them to the dental lab that will create your dental bridge. It will take a few weeks for this bridge to be ready and you will receive a temporary bridge to wear in the meantime.
We will check how your dental bridge fits and take note if any adjustments need to be made. If the fit is good, we will secure it in place with dental cement.
There are four main types of dental bridges and they are as follows:
Traditional Bridge - Dental crowns are placed on the abutment teeth on both sides of the gap and a pontic tooth is connected to fill in the gap. They are typically made of porcelain-fused-to-metal or ceramic materials.
Maryland Bridge - This bridge does not require any removal of the natural tooth enamel because this bridge has metal wings that are bonded to the back of the abutment teeth using composite resin.
Cantilever Bridge - Instead of abutment teeth on both sides of the gap receiving dental crowns to support the pontic tooth, only one tooth on one side of the gap will receive a dental crown that suspends the pontic tooth. This is less common and typically only recommended for the front teeth.
Implant-Supported Bridge - Much like a traditional dental bridge, two dental crowns will support the pontic to fill in the gap. However, instead of crowns covering the existing teeth, dental implants will be placed and the crowns are attached to the implants. This prevents bone loss, is more comfortable, and holds the teeth securely in place.
Dental bridges last between 5-15 years depending on wear and tear and oral hygiene. To extend the longevity of your dental bridge, you should avoid eating excessively hard, chewy, or sticky foods. Do not smoke or consume staining foods and drinks. If you grind your teeth, you will need to wear a mouthguard when you sleep. Attend regular dental visits every 6 months. With proper care, your bridge should last for at least 10 years.