A dental bridge is a restorative dental treatment that bridges the gap created by one or more missing teeth. A bridge consists of two main components: the pontics (artificial teeth) and the abutments (the natural teeth or implants on either side that provide support). When you have a missing tooth, not only does it affect your appearance, but it can also impact your oral health. Adjacent teeth may shift out of position over time, causing alignment issues and potential bite problems. Additionally, gaps in your smile can make chewing and speaking more challenging.
The Types of Dental Bridges
When it comes to dental bridges, there are several different types that can be used to restore your smile and improve your oral health.
- One common type is the traditional bridge, which consists of two crowns on either side of a pontic (artificial tooth). These crowns are placed over the natural teeth next to the gap while the pontic fills in the space.
- Another option is a cantilever bridge, which is similar to a traditional bridge but only requires one crown for support. This type of bridge is often used when there's only one adjacent tooth available for anchoring.
- For those who are missing multiple teeth in a row, an implant-supported bridge may be recommended. This type of bridge uses dental implants as anchors instead of natural teeth. It provides excellent stability and durability.
- In some cases where there's not enough bone or healthy teeth available, a resin-bonded or Maryland bridge might be suitable. These bridges use metal or porcelain wings bonded to nearby healthy teeth with minimal preparation needed.
Each type of dental bridge has its own unique benefits and considerations depending on factors such as oral health conditions and personal preference. Therefore, it's essential to consult with our dentist in Baton Rouge, LA, to determine which option will work best for you.
The Process of Having a Bridge Installed
The process of having a dental bridge installed is relatively straightforward, but it does require some time and multiple appointments with the dentist. First, our dentist in Baton Rouge, LA, will examine the area where the bridge will be placed to ensure that there is enough healthy bone and tissue to support it. We may also take x-rays or impressions of your teeth to help in creating an accurate model for the bridge.
Next, any decayed or damaged teeth that will be supporting the bridge are prepared by being trimmed down so that they can fit properly under the crowns of the bridge. This is done under local anesthesia to ensure your comfort during the procedure. After preparing the abutment teeth, impressions are taken again so that an exact replica of your mouth can be made. This replica serves as a mold for creating your custom-made dental bridge. While waiting for the permanent bridge to be created in a dental lab, you may receive a temporary one to wear in order to protect the exposed tooth roots and prevent shifting of surrounding teeth. Once your permanent dental bridge is ready, you'll return to have it fitted and cemented into place by the dentist. We will make any necessary adjustments to ensure proper bite alignment and overall comfort.
The Benefits of Dental Bridges
- One of the most significant benefits of dental bridges is that they can restore your smile and improve your overall appearance. Missing teeth can make you feel self-conscious and affect your confidence, but a bridge can fill in those gaps seamlessly, giving you a natural-looking smile.
- Dental bridges also have functional advantages. They help restore proper chewing and speaking abilities by filling in the spaces where teeth are missing. This allows for better digestion and clearer speech, making it easier to enjoy meals with friends and communicate effectively.
- Another advantage of dental bridges is that they prevent the surrounding teeth from shifting or moving out of their correct positions. When there's an empty space left by a missing tooth, neighboring teeth tend to shift over time, leading to alignment issues. By placing a bridge in that gap, the adjacent teeth are held securely in place.
- Dental bridges also play a crucial role in maintaining facial structure. When there are missing teeth, it can cause the face to appear sunken or saggy due to bone loss. Bridges provide support for facial muscles and prevent further deterioration of the jawbone.
- Dental bridges offer convenience compared to other restorative options like dentures or implants. They are fixed prosthetics that don't require removal for cleaning or maintenance like dentures do. With regular oral hygiene practices such as brushing twice daily and flossing regularly, along with routine visits to your dentist for check-ups, your bridge can last for many years.
To find out more about the dental services we offer at College Family Dentistry, call (225) 926-4640 or schedule a consultation online. You can also visit us at 4616 Concord Avenue, Baton Rouge, LA 70808.