To say something has room for improvement doesn’t necessarily mean that it isn’t an effective solution. For instance, a dental bridge is a highly-effective means of replacing a lost tooth, or more than one, if they’re lost in a row. While dental bridges have stood the test of time as replacement teeth, they still lack the strength and stability of natural teeth, mainly because bridges lack the same support. To improve its comfort and function, Dr. Fondriest may recommend that you support your dental bridge on one or more dental implants.
The Mechanics of a Dental Bridge
The basic construct of a dental bridge hasn’t changed drastically over the years, though the craftsmanship and materials used to create modern bridges have advanced considerably. A dental bridge consists of an appropriate number of replacement teeth (called pontics) situated between two dental crowns. The crowns are bonded to the healthy teeth adjacent to the gap in your smile, referred to as abutment teeth, holding the bridge in place as you bite, chew, speak, and smile. To accommodate the crowns, abutment teeth will have to be modified by sculpting away a small amount of structure from each tooth.
Disadvantages to Conventional Dental Bridges
Because dental bridges rely on surrounding oral structures for support, your replacement teeth are secured and sealed by your gum tissue, like your natural teeth. The space between your gums and your bridge’s pontics can provide hard-to-reach hiding spots for food debris and bacteria. Left alone, the accumulated germs and debris can lead to gum disease, or to decay in the teeth that support the bridge. Special flossing techniques and more frequent dental visits may be necessary to keep your mouth healthy and improve the longevity of your dental bridge.
Supporting a Dental Bridge on Dental Implants
Unlike other modern dental prosthetics, dental implants are surgically-inserted root devices designed to replace the roots of your missing teeth. Each implant is carefully placed at an optimal angle to support your bridge while helping preserve your jawbone’s integrity. With the support of dental implants, bridges can more-closely mimic the natural teeth they’re meant to replace in comfort, sturdiness, and in the manner with which you care for them.
Caring for Implant Bridges
After your dental implants are surgically placed, your jawbone will fuse to their biocompatible titanium surfaces as it heals (typically within 4-6 months). Each implant possesses a connective abutment that protrudes above the gumline, which Dr. Fondriest will use to connect your dental bridge. Since its support reaches below your gums, a dental implant bridge can be cleaned and cared for much like you care for your natural teeth. Be sure to brush your teeth and bridge at least twice every day, and floss at least once, to prevent bacterial plaque buildup that could lead to cavities and gum disease. Also, attend a regular dental checkup and cleaning as often as Dr. Fondriest recommends to ensure the continued success of your dental bridge, and the health of your oral tissues around it.
Solutions for All Kinds of Tooth Loss
If you’ve lost a significant amount of teeth, or if the teeth you’ve lost aren’t adjacent to each other, then a dental bridge may not suffice to replace them, even if it’s situated on dental implants. Fortunately, implants can also support a dental crown or denture, as well as a bridge, to address every patient’s pattern and severity of tooth loss. If you’ve lost teeth and are looking for the most comprehensive solution to replace them, or if you’d like to learn how to improve your existing dental prosthetic, then speak with Dr. Fondriest about your eligibility for dental implants.
Learn more about implant bridges
Aside from providing expert general and restorative dentistry services to our community, Dr. James Fondriest also holds highly-respected academic appointments at the Pankey Institute in Key Biscayne, FL, and the Spear Institute in Scottsdale, AZ, and he is an Adjunct Associate Professor in the Department of Prosthodontics at the University of Florida Dental School. At Lake Forest Dental Arts, Dr. Fondriest combines his impressive array of experience with modern technology and caring, compassionate, and knowledgeable staff, and we proudly serve the Chicago metropolitan area including the North Shore and Northwest suburbs. To schedule your next consultation, call our office today at (847) 234-0517.