Dental bridges are a restorative dentistry solution used to replace one or multiple missing teeth. Patients with missing teeth are prone to shifting teeth, tooth decay, and further tooth loss. Dr. Elise Brace can provide you with a dental bridge in Cary, NC at her dental practice, Kildaire Family and Cosmetic Dentistry to avoid further dental complications.
What is a Dental Bridge?
A dental bridge is a custom made restoration that is used to fill in the gaps when teeth are missing. We use only high quality materials to make our dental bridges so they will blend in naturally with the rest of your teeth. While we offer many types of dental bridges, they are essentially comprised of the replacement teeth (called the pontics) and dental crowns which are located on both sides of the pontics. This row of teeth is fused together to make up one prosthesis. To secure it in place, the crowns are anchored to neighboring teeth or dental implants.
Benefits of Dental Bridges
Dental bridges provide multiple benefits to patients with missing teeth. Bridges:
- Close gaps between teeth
- Allow patients to chew and speak properly
- Maintain face shape
- Redistribute the bite
- Prevent remaining teeth from drifting
Ideal candidates for dental bridges should be missing one or more teeth. A dental bridge requires healthy teeth on either side of a tooth gap. If you have more than three missing teeth in a row or whole arches of missing teeth, dentures and partials are a better option.
Types of Dental Bridges
Traditional Bridge – This type of bridge is used when there are two healthy teeth on each side of gap. The teeth, commonly called the abutment teeth, will support the dental bridge. They will be grinded down to create room for the crown.
Cantilever Bridge – This type of bridge is similar to a traditional bridge but it only uses one abutment tooth as opposed to two. It is most commonly used towards the front of them mouth where there is less chewing force used. The one tooth will need to be grinded down to accommodate the crown.
Maryland Bridge – This type of bridge is unique because it uses a framework made of metal or porcelain to hold a pontic in place. This framework is fixed to back side of two abutment teeth. These teeth do not need to be modified to support it.
Implant-Supported Bridge – For patients who are missing several consecutive teeth, they can use dental implants to support a dental bridge. Here, two implants are surgically placed in the jaw bone on each side of the gap. The implants will be used to support the dental bridge as well as replace the missing tooth roots.
Dental Bridge Treatment
Replacing missing teeth with a dental bridge is a multi-step process. To begin treatment, Dr. Brace will need to examine your teeth and take X-rays to assess your oral health. This will help determine your needs and she will put together a treatment plan that works with your dental health needs, budget, and cosmetic goals. Your treatment plan may include preparatory procedures such as a tooth extraction or dental filling.
At the next appointment, the adjacent teeth will be prepared. This involves reducing the size of the teeth to create room for the dental crowns. During this appointment, we administer local anesthetic around the teeth for your comfort. Several impressions of your teeth will be taken. These are sent away to a dental laboratory and used to fabricate your new, custom bridge.
It typically takes about two to three weeks for the dental bridge to be made. Once we receive it, you will return to our Cary, NC dentist office where your new bridge will be secured to the prepared, abutment teeth.
The Implant-Supported Bridge Process
If you have several consecutive missing teeth, Dr. Brace will recommend using dental implants to support a dental bridge. This will involve having an oral surgeon place at least two implant posts in the jaw bone. They will permanently fuse with the surrounding bone to create a stable base for the bridge.
Once you have healed and the implants have fully fused, typically about three to six months, we will secure a dental bridge to the dental implants. The implants will additionally help to stimulate natural bone growth in the jaw and maintain the structure of your face.
Patients who choose to replace their missing teeth with implants will enjoy a better quality of life. Dental implants are the closest thing to natural teeth and will allow patients to enjoy a greater variety of food with fewer eating restrictions. They have a high success rate and a high patient satisfaction rate and can last a lifetime.
How to Care for a Dental Bridge
To maintain the longevity and health of your dental bridge, it is important to adopt a thorough oral care routine. Brush your teeth and bridge at least twice a day using a soft-bristled toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste. Flossing around the bridge is very important as this will remove any food or debris that is stuck. We suggest using dental floss or a bridge threader to clean between the artificial tooth and adjacent natural teeth. Regular dental check-ups are essential for professional teeth cleanings and to ensure the bridge is functioning properly.
Also, you will need to avoid chewing on hard objects or ice to prevent damaging the dental bridge. If you grind your teeth, consider wearing a night guard to protect both your natural teeth and the dental bridge. Limit sugary foods and acidic drinks to prevent tooth decay around the bridge. If you notice any issues, such as discomfort, loosening, or changes in bite, please contact Dr. Brace right away. With proper care and regular dental visits, a dental bridge can provide functional and aesthetic benefits for years.
Call Our Cary, NC Dental Office
Do you want to replace multiple missing teeth? In addition to providing dental crowns in Cary, NC, we also offer dental bridges to our patients that are good candidates. Contact Dr. Elise Brace for care today by calling 919.823.7107. You may also request an appointment with Dr. Brace on our website.