Missing Teeth Replacement
Teeth serve many purposes besides proper speaking and chewing, maintaining the strength of your jawbone and preventing neighboring teeth from going out of alignment. With a regular oral hygiene routine, tooth loss is never inevitable, but if it occurs, you should have the teeth replaced as soon as possible. Depending on your situation, there are several options for tooth replacement, including dental bridges.
Call (508) 872-8806 today to schedule a consultation to find out what option is best for you!
What are dental bridges?
A dental bridge is a device that replaces missing teeth by attaching artificial teeth to the surrounding natural teeth, or abutment teeth. Bridges come in two types: removable and fixed.
- Fixed bridges are permanent, involving either the placement of crowns on the abutment teeth or bonding artificial teeth to abutment teeth directly. These bridges can only be removed by your dentist.
- Removable bridges use metal clasps to anchor their position and can be removed and reinserted at will, which allows for easy cleaning.
Bridges are also called fixed partial dentures since they replicate the functions of dentures for one or several teeth at a time. Though removable bridges offer greater flexibility, fixed bridges offer greater stability. Consult with your dentist to determine which type suits your needs.
What are the benefits of dental bridges?
Bridges restore your appearance and proper oral function. Missing teeth, especially back teeth, result in a sagging appearance that makes your face appear older. Bridges prevent this issue, along with making your lips and cheeks appear fuller. Gaps in teeth alter speech patterns, making some sounds difficult to pronounce. Though bridges may feel different from natural teeth, just as with dentures, you will quickly learn to use them for speech.
The most important benefit of a bridge is improved oral health. When all the teeth are present, they support each other and help maintain proper alignment. Missing teeth permit other teeth to shift position and greatly increase the risk of gum disease. By filling the gap in your teeth, bridges keep your other teeth in position and cover up your vulnerable gums.
What happens in a dental bridge procedure?
Attaching a dental bridge will take two or three appointments. At your first appointment, Dr. Chick will take an impression of your teeth. The bridge must be constructed carefully to match the missing tooth and allow for a proper bite. The impression is sent to the lab that constructs the dental bridge. Next, Dr. Chick removes some of the enamel and dentin from the abutment teeth. This allows for more thorough, stable bonding.
For a fixed bridge procedure, crowns are bonded to the abutment teeth to support the bridge. Finally, a false tooth, or pontic, is inserted into the gap and attached to the abutment teeth. These components can be manufactured from several different materials, including gold alloys, porcelain, non-precious alloys, or a combination. When porcelain is used, it is frequently bonded to other metals. The procedure leaves you with a stable, permanent bridge.
How do I care for my dental bridge?
Simply follow a normal oral hygiene routine, brushing and flossing twice daily. It is essential not only to clean the bridge, but also the surrounding teeth that the bridge relies on for support. If your bridge is damaged in any way, such as a hard bite or blunt trauma, see our office immediately for repairs.
If you have missing teeth, call (508) 872-8806 to schedule a consultation and explore your options. A dental bridge may be just what you need.