Dental bridges or tooth bridges are a solution used for tooth replacement in some patients. They are called bridges, because your existing teeth are used to create a set of false teeth that span the area where you’ve lost a tooth. Missing teeth can cause problems with speaking, chewing and keeping your mouth healthy. If you’ve lost one or more teeth, replacing those teeth will help you look and feel better.
HOW DO DENTAL BRIDGES WORK?
A traditional dental bridge uses crowns on the existing teeth next to the missing one to anchor it in place. A crown in the middle takes the place of the missing tooth, and connects to the crowns on the neighboring teeth. Because of the way they work, some people call these fixed partial dentures. Bridges help restore chewing power and provide you with a more attractive smile. They are an important part of our restorative dentistry here at Smiles by Design.
FREQUENTLY ASKED DENTAL BRIDGE QUESTIONS
What do they feel like? Are they comfortable?
Initially, you’ll be fitted with a temporary bridge while the lab creates your custom final one. The temporary bridge may not feel great because it isn’t custom sized to your mouth. You’ll also be adjusting to having a crown where you’ve had a missing tooth for a while. Once the custom bridge is cemented in place, it should fit well and be comfortable. Sometimes getting the exact right fit will take a few adjustments, but then you won’t notice much difference between your new bridge and your teeth. Many people have them for 15-20 years without having any problems with comfort.
What do Dental Bridges Look Like?
Dental bridges look a lot like your regular teeth. Made out of porcelain or ceramics, they will be a shade of white that matches your other teeth. If you’ve had a crown put in, the “teeth” will look a lot like that. Because your bridge will be custom designed for your mouth, the crowns will be the right shape to match the rest of your teeth. People that don’t know you’ve had dental work done probably won’t be able to notice that you have a bridge.
While dental implants are a better choice for many patients, those with loss of bone in the jaw or other oral health concerns may benefit from a dental bridge. Implants require bone density in the jaw that may not be there if your teeth have been missing for a long time. For most cases, we recommend implants as a replacement for lost teeth because they can be better long-term for your oral health, as the surrounding teeth do not have to have crowns put on them. But bridges have been used for decades and remain a good long-term solution for those who are not good candidates or are uncomfortable with the idea of implants.
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ARE DENTAL BRIDGES THE RIGHT OPTION?
If you are missing one or more teeth, Dr. Schraw will need to take a look inside your mouth to determine the best solution for your individual treatment plan. In many cases, Dr. Schraw may recommend a dental implant rather than a dental bridge. Once Dr. Schraw has had the opportunity to better understand your personal situation, she’ll be able to determine the correct tooth replacement method for you. The result will have you enjoying food and smiling again.