If only wishes could come true, everyone would have beautiful, white, and perfectly straight teeth. Tooth decay, gum disease, and accidents that damage or knock out teeth would never happen.
Sounds nice, but that’s just not reality. In the real world, stuff happens — even when you do everything right like brushing, flossing, and going to the dentist for checkups and professional cleanings.
At some point during their lifetime, many patients will need an extraction for one reason or another. In fact, missing teeth are fairly common. Did you know that an estimated 178 million people in the United States are missing at least one tooth, and about 40 million Americans are missing all of their teeth?
During those times when reality makes an unwelcome visit, restorations like dental bridges become a useful tool to improve smiles. In this blog, the experienced team at Fresh Dental Care shares their insights on dental bridges and how they can keep you smiling for many years to come.
Similar to how a vehicular bridge closes a gap in the road surface, a dental bridge — sometimes referred to as a partial denture — closes the gap between missing teeth. There are four types of bridges: traditional bridges, Maryland bridges, cantilever bridges, and implant-supported bridges.
The biggest difference between the types of bridges is how they attach to neighboring teeth, but the basic premise is the same. They restore your smile by filling the gap created by your missing teeth.
The traditional bridge is the most popular and most commonly used dental bridge. It consists of a pontic — the artificial tooth or teeth depending on how many teeth you are missing — suspended between and anchored by crowns on healthy teeth on either side of the gap. These teeth are known as abutment teeth.
The key difference between traditional and Maryland bridges is that your dentist uses a metal framework attached to the back of the healthy teeth on either side instead of dental crowns. This tactic comes in handy for bridges in more noticeable places like front teeth.
Although not as common as traditional or Maryland bridges, your dentist may use a cantilever bridge if you’re missing multiple teeth and particularly if you only have one healthy abutment tooth on one side of the tooth gap. With cantilever bridges, your dentist bonds a cantilever bridge to one crown.
An implant-supported bridge is another option for multiple missing teeth. Dental implants become the anchoring point for the bridge. In order to be a candidate for this type of bridge, you must have strong and healthy neighboring teeth, bone and gums.
At Fresh Dental Care, our highly skilled dental team installs dental bridges in two to three appointments. During the first visit, your dentist preps the abutment teeth to receive the crowns scaling down their size slightly to ensure that the bridge fits properly. We send impressions of your abutment teeth and mouth to a dental laboratory, which fabricates the bridge.
You get a temporary bridge while the permanent one is being made. Once the permanent, customized bridge is ready, you return to the office so your dentist can place and secure the crowns and bridge.
In cases where it’s important for your gums and mouth to grow accustomed to the new appliance, an extra step is added. In this scenario, your dentist temporarily fixes the bridge in place, and you return a few weeks later to have the bridge permanently bonded.
Dental bridges definitely make a big impact esthetically by restoring your smile. But the advantages don’t stop there.
Bridges are a great value because they’re durable and long-lasting. Similar to other restorations like crowns, dental bridges can last five to seven years. If you are valiant with your at-home oral care and visit your dentist regularly for checkups and professional cleanings, bridges can last a decade or so.
If you’re missing teeth and want to know if a dental bridge is right for you, come see the team at Fresh Dental Care for a consultation. Book your appointment by calling one of our five convenient offices in Houston, Texas.