What Is A Dental Bridge?
One of the worst feelings is when you realize you are going to lose a tooth. This kind of permanent loss can be both depressing and frightening. Fortunately, thanks to the wonders of modern dentistry, there are options for dealing with a lost tooth that will ensure that you can resume your life normally without anyone ever being the wiser. One of those options is what’s known as a dental bridge.
If you or a loved one has lost a tooth, here is a primer on dental bridges. We’ll go over what they are, how they are installed, and what it’s like to live with a dental bridge. We’ll even highlight how to properly take care of a dental bridge so that they last as long as possible.
Patients in the Nashville area can rest easy knowing there’s a dental professional in your community who’s experienced with installing and maintaining dental bridges in an easy and effective manner.
What is a dental bridge for?
When a person loses a tooth, they have a number of options for how to replace it, with the aim of preserving the rest of the teeth in a healthy and safe manner, and maintaining an aesthetically pleasing smile. In the past, a false tooth would be inserted using what is known as a partial denture. These can be taken in and out as necessary, in particular while eating or for cleaning them overnight. In contrast, a dental bridge is permanently installed. This makes it possible to restore the mouth and smile to its original state as closely as possible.
Another option for replacing a loss tooth is a dental implant, which is physically connected to the jawbone through a surgical procedure.
A dental bridge offers a number of advantages. The installation is easier and less invasive than a dental implant, while offering a permanent solution unlike a denture. A typical patient will only need to make two visits to complete the procedure. Moreover, the overall cost is significantly less than a dental implant, and it is covered by many insurance policies.
The major drawback is that the average lifespan of a dental bridge is 5 to 7 years, and over time the bridge may lose its natural appearance.
What are the different types of dental bridges?
There are four major types of dental bridges. The first kind, known as a traditional bridge, involves a false tooth that is cemented into place by dental crowns on the neighboring, healthy teeth. This is still the most popular type of dental bridge, and is generally feasible whenever you have sound teeth on either side of the gap.
A cantilever dental bridge differs from a traditional bridge in that it is held in place by only one crown, on one side of the gap. It may be slightly less stable than a traditional bridge, but it involves less work and means you only need one healthy tooth next to the gap.
Another option is what’s known as a Maryland dental bridge. It still involves connecting the bridge to both of the neighboring teeth, but instead of using crowns, the bond is created with a metal or porcelain attachment on the back of the healthy teeth.
Finally, an implant-supported dental bridge is one in which the replacement tooth or teeth are affixed to one or two surgically implanted teeth. This is considered the most stable type of bridge, but also the most invasive to install. It will typically be used when a large among of dental restoration is needed, as opposed to when just one or two teeth need to be fixed.
How difficult is it to install a dental bridge?
One of the main advantages of a dental bridge is that it is easier and cheaper to install than a dental implant, which requires a surgical procedure to join the fake tooth to the jawbone. With a dental bridge, the treatment is superficial, although depending on the condition of the neighboring teeth, there may need to be some shaving or shaping of the natural teeth before the crowns can be placed on them.
The first step in the process involves your dentist doing a careful examination of the mouth and the teeth that abut the gap, in order to assess how well they will take to the bridge being installed. It is at this point your dentist will recommend any alternative treatments that may be better suited for your situation, or give the go ahead for a bridge implant.
Next, the mouth must be prepared for the bridge, which may require filing of the neighboring teeth. If there is a great deal of shaping that needs to take place, the dentist will likely use a local sedative. Then, once the teeth are ready, the crowns will be installed and the new tooth inserted into the gap and fixed in place by attaching it to the neighboring crowns.
How to maintain a dental bridge
Once your new bridge has been installed, it’s very important it be properly cared for, to extend the life of the bridge as long as possible. Patients should brush after every meal and floss at least on a daily basis, as the bridge can cause some complications for the healthy, neighboring teeth. Eat a healthy diet and limit your intake of chewy, fibrous foods. Finally, see you dentist for regular, professional cleanings.
Your Nashville, Tennessee Dental Bridge Specialists
Having a dental bridge installed is a serious procedure, and you want to make sure you are getting the best dental care possible from a specialist who knows what they are doing. Jody Jones, DDS, prides himself on maintaining the most advanced dental office with top-notch equipment and an attentive, well-trained staff. Our entire team of dental professionals is passionate about serving the Nashville area by making the health and well being of our patients the top priority.
Whether you’re in for your regular check up, or need extensive work done, we take the time to not only clearly outline what is necessary, and why, but to make sure all of our patients are comfortable at all times. We aim to treat every visitor like a member of our own family.
Contact us today to ask questions and schedule your next visit.