A smile is your greatest accessory, so keeping it healthy should be one of your top priorities. But, even with the best preventive care, it is still possible to lose your natural teeth. So, how can you keep your smile healthy, even after tooth loss? Many patients find the answer through restorative dentistry solutions, like high-quality dental bridges.
The team at Lakewood Dental Group take great pride in helping patients find comfortable tooth-replacement options that fit their lifestyles and budgets. If you’re ready to discuss your restorative options with a qualified Dallas, TX, dentist, then call our team at (214) 827-1885 or contact us online here.
If you’ve heard of dental bridges, but you don’t know what they are or if they are right for you, then keep reading. Here, Dr. Mihir Patel and Dr. Shaun Sigurdson will explore everything you’ve always wanted to know about dental bridges.
What are dental bridges?
A dental bridge is a dental prosthetic that typically consists of one or more false teeth. Dental professionals often use dental bridges to replace missing teeth (even the front teeth), which restores patients’ chewing, speaking, and smiling abilities.
Traditionally, dentists secure a dental bridge onto neighboring teeth with the help of dental crowns and a strong adhesive. However, there are three other types of dental bridges that dental professionals may offer, including:
- Cantilever bridge: Similar to a traditional bridge, a cantilever bridge only uses one neighboring tooth to hold its position in the mouth.
- Resin-bonded (Maryland) bridge: These dental bridges often replace the front teeth, as a supportive, wing-like framework bolsters the appliance firmly in place. So, patients can bite into their food, speak confidently, and smile freely without worrying that the bridge will slip or move.
- Implant-supported bridge: An implant-supported bridge is, by far, one of the most reliable and durable options to replace missing teeth. Sturdy, surgically-implanted titanium posts keep the bridge permanently in place. However, patients must undergo dental implant surgery before getting their custom restoration.
Many patients choose traditional dental bridges as their preferred tooth-replacement option. However, our Lakewood team will gladly help you choose the appliance that best suits your lifestyle, budget, and aesthetic goals.
Why should I consider a dental bridge?
Replacing missing teeth isn’t just about enhancing your overall appearance–it’s about restoring your oral function and health, too.
Our natural teeth play an important role in chewing, speaking, and keeping our mouths healthy. Without them, we cannot eat or speak as comfortably, and our gums and jaw bones will succumb to disease and dysfunction.
Restoring missing teeth with a dental bridge allows patients to avoid several dental issues, such as:
- Dental shifting
- Continued tooth loss
- Gum and jaw bone recession
- Biting and chewing difficulties
- Undue stress on remaining teeth and the temporomandibular joint (TMJ)
So, whether you’re missing teeth due to injury, tooth decay, or gum disease (which nearly half of all adults over 30 have!), it’s important to replace them as soon as possible. Dental bridges help you quickly and comfortably replace missing teeth, which keeps your smile healthy, happy, and functional.
Am I a good candidate for a dental bridge?
Candidates for dental bridges must have at least one missing tooth. However, a dental bridge can also replace many missing teeth in a row. Aside from tooth loss, ideal candidates should:
- Have healthy neighboring teeth to support the prosthetic
- Be free from cavities and gum disease
- Be willing to conduct daily oral hygiene
- Commit to visiting our Dallas dentists at least twice a year for routine checkups and cleanings
A thorough exam during a comprehensive consultation will help our team determine if a dental bridge is right for you.
What is the traditional dental bridge process like?
Generally, patients begin the dental bridge process by scheduling a consultation. During this initial appointment, our team will assess your teeth and gums before making any tooth-replacement recommendations.
If we believe that a traditional dental bridge is right for you, then we will begin preparatory procedures, such as:
- Shaping neighboring teeth to accommodate the dental bridge
- Taking digital impressions of the mouth
- Sending the impressions to a trusted and verified dental lab to fabricate the prosthetic
Crafting your unique prosthetic may take a few weeks, so our team will fit you with a temporary bridge while you wait. This will protect your smile until we can permanently place your final appliance.
Once the dental lab completes your bridge, our team will permanently cement the appliance into place. Once the cement is cured, you are free to eat, speak, and smile as you usually would!
What if I want an implant-supported bridge?
Typically, implant-supported dental bridges require additional time and preparation. However, their stability and longevity make the extra effort well worth your while.
Patients must have sufficient jaw bone density before undergoing dental implant surgery. Otherwise, the dental implant will not have a suitable foundation to keep it firmly in place.
If you do not have enough bone volume to support the implant, then our team will recommend a fortifying bone graft procedure. In some cases, patients already have sufficient bone volume, which allows them to proceed directly to dental implant surgery
Dental implant surgery is a routine procedure with a nearly 98% success rate. Nonetheless, patients must heal completely before our team can fit them with their dental bridges. Ordinarily, patients can get their custom-made appliance after four to six months of healing.
How long do dental bridges last?
Data suggest that dental bridges may last for at least five years. However, patients who take proper care of their dental bridges could buy themselves several more years of comfort and function.
To ensure the lifespan of your dental bridge, our Dallas dentists recommend:
- Brushing with a non-abrasive toothpaste and soft-bristled toothbrush at least twice a day
- Flossing at least once a day
- Limiting damaging behavior, like chewing on hard candy, ice, or fingernails
- Avoiding overly sugary and acidic foods and drinks
- Visiting a Lakewood dentist at least every six months
Adhering to these steps could lengthen your appliances’ lifespan by more than 10 years.
Ask Us If Dental Bridges Are Right For You
Dental bridges replace one or more missing teeth in a row, which restores your oral function and increases your confidence. If you’re ready to ask us if dental bridges are right for you, then schedule a consultation now.
Patients can reach our Dallas dental office by calling (214) 827-1885 or by sending our team a secure message online here.