Today, patients can choose from a number of corrective and restorative dental options that look and feel completely natural. Whether you’re missing just one tooth in the back of your mouth, or you’ve lost all of your teeth, replacing missing teeth is imperative for proper overall oral function. Research shows that people who do not replace a missing tooth are likely to lose more teeth within four years. The more you know about the options available to enhance your smile, the more informed decision to be made.
What is a Dental Bridge?
Dental bridges do what the name implies. They bridge the gap created by one or more missing teeth. A dental bridge is made of two or more crowns for the teeth on either side of the gap. Those teeth on opposite sides of the gap are referred to as anchor teeth or abutment teeth. The artificial teeth or pontics will replace the gap. Pontics can be manufactured from porcelain, gold, alloys, or an array of materials and metals. Dental bridges are supported by dental implants or natural teeth.
Dental bridges are able to:
- Restore correct and comfortable biting and chewing
- Help with a smile
- Uphold the shape the face of a patient
- Help to distribute the forces in a bite
- Prevent remaining teeth from moving out of their position
What is a Partial Dental Bridge?
A partial dental bridge is a plate with one or more artificial teeth on it. A partial dental bridge may be manufactured from plastic or a mixture of plastic and metal. Regardless of what your partial bridge is comprised of, both types may have clips or clasps to help keep the bridge in the mouth. Depending on the location of the partial dental bridge, the clips may show when patient opens his/her mouth or smiles.
Some people call a bridge a fixed partial denture, but the moniker is inaccurate. A partial denture features multiple teeth like a bridge, but the replacement teeth on a partial are not adjacent to one another. They fill in gaps from missing teeth similar to a jigsaw puzzle piece. Another difference is the attachment. Bridges anchor to crowned teeth or abutment teeth, while partials have clasps that clip onto natural teeth. Thus, bridges are fixed, and partials are removable.
Potential Problems with Dental Bridges
In most cases, bridges remain secure once they are placed. However, as with any restorative or corrective dental treatment, there may be issues that arise. At Lake Forest Dental Arts, Dr. James Fondriest can provide you with complete dental bridge treatments and care, regardless of where your dental bridge work was performed.
Some of the disadvantages with dental bridges include:
- Increased sensitivity: Shortly after the placement of a dental bridge, some patients have reported increased sensitivity to hot and cold foods and beverages. While this side effect usually subsides within a few weeks, it may be one lasts long-term for some patients. If you are a patient experiencing extreme sensitivity to hot or cold foods, consider switching to desensitizing toothpaste to alleviate your discomfort. If that does not help, consider making an appointment with Dr. Fondriest.
- Infections: Occasionally, after a dental bridge has been bonded in place, a small space is left between the crown of the bridge and the anchoring tooth. When this occurs, food particles tend to accumulate in the space and can lead to infections. Unfortunately, the only way to correct this problem is by removing the bridge, addressing the infection, and replacing the old bridge with a new and more durable bridge.
- Dislodging: Although having a dental bridge become dislodged can be stressful, it is easy to fix. In such instances, Dr. Fondriest is able to reattach your dental bridge, while providing you with the information you need, ensuring future stability. He will also thoroughly examine your dental bridge and provide the best course of action for you.
- Pain: Some patients experience moderate to severe pain after receiving a dental bridge. Although a normal occurrence, persistent pain should be examined by Dr. Fondriest. There is the possibility that your bridge is a poorly-fitted one and needs adjusting.
- Breakage: If you are experiencing broken teeth because of your dental bridge, the reason may be due to stress. Stress can cause issues with the anchor teeth or abutment teeth that support the dental bridge. Stress can also cause the teeth to weaken, crack, and break. Because of stress, deterioration of the pulp may also be an issue.
- Gum disease: Patients with dental bridges have a higher risk of getting gum disease. With regular brushing, flossing and bi-annual checkups, the chances decrease.
- Lost bridge: If the surrounding or supportive teeth become loose, you may risk losing your dental bridge or the abutment teeth. If you notice loose teeth, make an appointment to see Dr. Fondriest
- Damage to other teeth: Over time, your dental bridge may become worn or rough. As a result, the enamel of neighboring teeth that come into contact with the dental bridge, may be affected. If you notice your dental bridge becoming rough or worn, contact Dr. Fondriest to correct this issue immediately.
The procedure used to place a dental bridge in the mouth, is relatively pain-free and easy procedure. You will first be numbed with an agent and your teeth surrounding the gap will be filed. After the filing of those teeth, the crowns will be placed on them. Those crowns are now a support for the artificial tooth that will replace the gap. Finally, the artificial tooth usually made of porcelain, or another durable material, will be place in the gap. Your new teeth will look, feel, and function like natural teeth.
Contact Lake Forest Dental Arts Today
Whether you are having issues with your existing dental bridges, have questions about dental bridges, or want to learn more about dental bridges, Dr. Fondriest is eager to speak with you. As an accomplished dental professional, Dr. Fondriest focuses on comprehensive esthetic, corrective, and restorative dentistry. Furthermore, he has the skill set to create long-lasting, durable and aesthetically pleasing dental treatments that provide confidence to patients. Contact Dr. Fondriest at Lake Forest Dental Arts in Chicago, IL, for an appointment today. Connect with us online or dial 847-234-0517.