What is a dental bridge?
A dental bridge is basically an oral appliance that is custom made to fill in the gap that might be left by a missing tooth or multiple missing teeth. The dental bridge comprises of a false tooth that is fused between two crowns that are cemented onto the abutment teeth. The bridge is cemented and cannot be removed- i.e., it is permanent. Dental bridges typically look and feel like a real tooth.
What is a dental bridge made of?
There are several materials used to make a dental bridge, but the most common are porcelain, ceramic, metal alloys, gold or a combination of these materials.
To prepare a dental bridge, the dentist has to remove the entire tooth structure so that the space can now accommodate the fittings of the new bridge. For example, if you have a severely decayed or damaged tooth, then it needs to be completely removed. Simply cutting part of the tooth out is not the ideal way to prepare for a dental bridge as the bonding or fixation is not always durable. In most cases, if the tooth is rotten, then it needs to be completely removed before a dental bridge can be inserted.
What are some key benefits of a dental bridge?
For people who are missing a tooth or several teeth, a bridge is an excellent option in order to restore the smile. In addition, the bridge can enhance the overall facial appearance of the patient and provide support to the jaw and cheeks. A dental bridge, if used to replace missing teeth, also helps improve the ability to speak and eat. Finally, having a dental bridge ensures that the adjacent teeth will not drift out of their normal anatomical position.
What are the different types of dental bridges?
There are three types of dental bridges:
- Traditional Fixed Tooth Bridge is the most common type used in dental clinics today. These bridges are generally made of ceramics or porcelain fused to metal. A traditional bridge cannot be removed once placed. This fixed bridge is held in place by two crowns, which are attached to the teeth on each side of the false tooth. The traditionally fixed bridge procedure is frequently used to replace one or several missing teeth.
- Resin Bonded Tooth Bridge is typically used to replace the front teeth. This type of tooth bridge is ideal when the abutment teeth (the teeth on either side of the missing tooth) are healthy, disease free and have not had any type of large fillings in the past. The tooth bridge is then fused to metal bands that are bonded to the adjacent teeth with a resin. The resin bonded tooth bridge is associated with less manipulation and reduced preparation of the abutment teeth. In addition, this type of tooth bridge is less costly than a fixed bridge.
- Cantilever Tooth Bridge is only utilized in areas where there are teeth on only one side of the gap/space. This technical procedure entails attaching the bridge to one side over one more natural tooth. Cantilever bridges are not commonly used these days are especially not recommended in the back of the mouth. The tooth bridge may put too much pressure on other teeth, and there is a risk that they could become damaged.
What is the color of a dental bridge?
When a dental bridge is placed, the appropriate color is selected based on the patient’s current tooth color. In all cases, a proper match of color is done so that the tooth bridge also matches the color of the face. The primary objective is to give the patient as close to the natural look as possible as most people want to avoid ending up with something on their teeth that stands out. The goal of dental care is to ensure that the issue in question is resolved and that the facial appearance and the overall look of the teeth and surrounding area are changed as little as possible.
How is a dental bridge inserted?
If you have a missing tooth, the first thing you need to do is visit a dentist. At the initial consult, the dentist will examine your oral cavity and suggest several options, including a bridge. X-rays will be obtained to determine the health status of the adjacent bone and tooth.
In addition, the dentist will thoroughly examine your gums and ensure that you are in overall good health. If you agree to a bridge, the process will involve two sessions spread over several weeks.
During the first session, the missing tooth area will be cleaned, shaved and recontoured. At the same time, the right color shade will be selected for the dental bridge. This is an important step to the natural tone and color.
The next step is to obtain an impression of the gap where the tooth is missing and send it to the laboratory. The dentist will then cement a temporary bridge while the permanent dental bridge is being constructed. This temporary bridge will function to protect your gums and teeth. The temporary bridge is to be used only until the time your customized bridge is ready.
At the second visit, which is usually several weeks later, the temporary bridge is removed, and the permanent bridge is cemented into place. Before the cement, the bridge will be adjusted to make sure there are no discrepancies in your bite. If all is well, the bridge will then be cemented in place.
Is there any pain during placement of the dental bridge?
Some patients may experience mild pain during the placement of a dental bridge. However, the process is not extremely painful and whatever pain the patient might feel can be handled by administering a local anesthetic. Most people realize that the mild pain associated with this procedure is required to fix the dental issues as they should not be left untreated.
What is the durability of dental bridges?
Dental bridges are sometimes necessary and easy to place as and when required. However, in order to maintain their durability, it is important to maintain good oral health and to visit the dentist regularly. People who maintain good oral hygiene and follow up with the dentist regularly will see that their dental bridges can last anywhere from 10-15 years. However, if you don’t maintain good oral hygiene or follow up with the dentist, the lifespan of a dental bridge is short. The important thing is to take your oral health seriously. People tend to take the state of their dental health quite lightly. Regular check-ups with a family doctor are always taken seriously but scheduling regular visits to the dentist is usually the last priority for most people. This attitude needs to change as ignoring your oral health can lead to negative health consequences in the long-run.
How do I maintain my dental bridge?
Again, when it comes to the maintenance of your dental bridge, it goes hand in hand with how well you maintain your oral health. You need to maintain good oral hygiene. This means you need to brush at least twice a day and floss every day. Rinse the mouth after every meal. The most difficult part of looking after a dental bridge is flossing, but a dental hygienist will usually explain how to do this at home. Eat sensibly and avoid hard foods like candy. Do not use your mouth as a vise to open up bottles. Take your oral health seriously and do not take your teeth for granted.
Does the dental bridge interfere with eating?
People might believe that a dental bridge would make it difficult to eat normally, but the fact is that a dental bridge actually makes it easier to chew food. This is mainly because you no longer have any gaps. However, it is recommended that you take small bites and consume soft foods initially to help you transition to the sensation of food and chewing with a dental bridge. You will get used to eating with a dental bridge and a time will come when you don’t feel much of a difference.
Does the dental bridge affect speech?
Some patients may find that the bridge affects their speech, but this is only true during the initial stage. You may notice a lisp, or you may have difficulty pronouncing some words. However, as your tongue gets used to the sensation of the dental bridge, your speech will start to improve, and you will gradually get back to the normal state. Try to speak slowly during the initial stage after getting a bridge. When at home, practice speaking up loud and train yourself to adjust to the bridge. Most patients get back to normal in no time.
Who can have a dental bridge?
In general, any person who has a missing tooth or missing multiple teeth is an ideal candidate for a dental bridge. It is important to understand that this problem needs to be treated. If you have lost a tooth and leave the gap between the teeth unfilled, there is a risk that with time, there may be damage to the adjacent teeth. In addition, the other teeth will slowly start to drift out of their anatomical position, and this can also lead to change in your face shape and structure. Finally, when gaps are left in the jaw, this also increases the risk of cavities and gum disease in the adjacent teeth. Therefore, if you have missing teeth, you should visit the dentist and discuss the possible treatment options with them.
How much do dental bridges cost?
The cost of a dental bridge is completely dependent on the type of bridge you need. In most cases, insurers cover full or partial costs of a dental bridge. In addition, dentists also offer a variety of financing plans so that you can have your smile restored. The important thing is that you take that step and discuss the available options with your dentist.
Dental Care at The Foleck Center
At the Foleck Center, our dental team is trained to provide the best dental services to each and every patient. We have three locations to cater to patients in Virginia Beach, Norfolk, and Hampton.
For us, patient satisfaction trumps everything, and that is why we want to ensure that your visit and your experience with our team is pleasant, relaxing and effective. Our friendly and courteous staff will make it a point to answer all your questions and concerns so that you know the treatment that will be done and the reasons why it’s necessary. Your satisfaction will always remain our top priority.
Most people don’t take dentistry seriously. But the fact is that regular check-ups with your dentist are as important as your visits to the family doctor. Many times, people keep on delaying treatment for dental issues and a time comes when the state of the tooth (or teeth) becomes too complicated resulting in treatments that could have been prevented altogether if the problem had been dealt with earlier. Our dental team wants to prevent your dental issues from becoming more complex. Remember, tooth pain can be severe, and infections can make your life very difficult. If you have a dental problem, deal with it immediately. Be vigilant about any changes to your oral health and consult a dentist whenever you feel something is not right.
Maintaining good oral health is essential for your overall health and appearance. If you have any questions or concerns about dental bridges, how they are made, how they will be placed and the different types that are available, you should call and schedule a consultation with our dentists. Our team is here to help you in any way they can and to make your experience pain free and comfortable. Your first consultation is absolutely free so call now and book an appointment today.