There are different ways of replacing missing teeth. Tooth replacement can be accomplished with implants or a permanent bridge. Tooth loss is one of the most destructive issues that can affect your smile. In some cases, it’s the worst-case scenario for aggressive dental disease, while at other times, teeth are lost to accidental damage that can’t exactly be prevented. Although tooth loss is common, it isn’t natural; with every tooth lost, your mouth’s ability to function is negatively affected. Not to mention, the gaps left in your smile can have a serious impact on your confidence. Modern dental bridgework can address this issue. A bridge is a prosthetic dental device that can replace your lost tooth or teeth and literally bridge the gap. Aside from the cosmetic benefits of restoring your smile, a dental bridge can help restore your mouth’s balance, allowing you to bite and chew properly again.
Supporting Dental Bridgework
Accepting the fact that you’ve lost teeth and need to replace them isn’t always easy, but once you have, then Dr. Fondriest can help you decide if a bridge is the right choice. If you’ve lost a single tooth or multiple teeth in a row, then a bridge can be placed to fill the gap and restore the ranks of your smile. A conventional bridge consists of the appropriate number of replacement teeth (usually between one and three) with a dental crown on either side of the appliance. The supporting teeth are each called an abutment tooth. The bordering crowns are bonded to the teeth adjacent to the gap, and they hold the bridge steady. To accommodate the dental crowns, Dr. Fondriest will prepare the abutment teeth by slightly reshaping them to allow the crowns to fit snugly.
Common Concerns with Dental Bridgework
Many patients who visit our office have already had a modern dental bridge placed, but experience problems due to an uncomfortable fit or dislodging. Improper placement or sizing problems can lead to a host of difficulties, including an increased risk of infection for the abutment teeth if the supportive dental crowns don’t fit correctly. With years of experience in restorative and prosthetic dentistry, Dr. Fondriest can examine the site of your tooth loss, including the surrounding tissues and teeth, to determine the best method for replacing your tooth bridge. Often, Dr. Fondriest may recommend supporting your new bridge on one or more dental implants, which mimic your teeth’s roots and can eliminate the need to modify healthy teeth for support.
Dental Implants and Fixed Bridges
A dental implant is a titanium root device that’s surgically placed into the jawbone. Implants are made from titanium because the metal is biocompatible; as your jawbone heals, it accepts the titanium as biologically compatible and fuses to the implant’s surface. With one or more dental implants (depending on the size of your dental bridgework), Dr. Fondriest can custom-create a sturdier, more durable modern dental bridge that closely resembles the construct of your natural teeth. Since there’s no need to attach crowns to healthy teeth, the risk of infection or damage from an ill-fitting bridge is significantly reduced.
Addressing Other Patterns of Tooth Loss
The unique nature of dental bridgework makes it ideal for certain patterns of tooth loss, like a single lost tooth or a few lost teeth in a row. If you’re missing teeth that aren’t adjacent to each other, or if you’ve lost all of your teeth on one or both of your dental ridges, then a bridge won’t suffice. A partial or full denture, however, can be designed to match your specific condition, and dentures can also be supported on a series of dental implants for advanced support. If you’re looking for the optimal replacement for your lost teeth, or wish to improve your current tooth bridge or denture, then speak with Dr. Fondriest about the possibility of dental implants.
Benefits of Dental Bridgework
Now that we’ve explored the mechanics of bridges, let’s take a look at some of the most notable benefits. Bridges can:
- Complete your smile for optimal aesthetics
- Restore the ability to eat and speak properly
- Help maintain facial structure
- Equally distribute forces across the bite
- Prevent shifting of remaining teeth
- Boost your confidence
In addition, those opting for implant-supported dental bridgework can enjoy even more advantages. For example:
- Implant-supported restorations help preserve the existing jawbone and prevent further bone degradation.
- There is no need to remove natural tooth structure, thereby preserving overall oral health.
Drawbacks of Modern Dental Bridges
A bridge can be an excellent solution to tooth loss, but it may not be right for everyone. Here are a few disadvantages to consider:
- Natural tooth structure must be removed for a traditional bridge. This doesn’t necessarily mean the bridge isn’t a viable choice. However, any time a natural tooth is altered, it can become more susceptible to damage.
- Decay can develop underneath an ill-fitting bridge. However, this can be avoided if the restoration is designed appropriately. Dr. Fondriest uses the most advanced techniques to ensure a proper fit.
- The bridge can collapse if the supporting teeth lack strength. Before recommending a dental bridge, Dr. Fondriest will perform a comprehensive oral evaluation. During this time, he will assess the health of the adjacent teeth.
- Dental Bridgework will need to be replaced eventually. The average lifespan of a dental bridge is five to 15 years. However, Dr. Fondriest uses the most advanced materials available. Many of our patients are able to enjoy their dental bridges for 20 years or more.
Aside from providing top-tier dental services to our community, Dr. James Fondriest also holds academic appointments at the Spear Institute in Scottsdale, AZ and the Pankey Institute in Key Biscayne, FL. He has also served as an Adjunct Associate Professor in the Department of Prosthodontics at the University of Florida Dental School. Dr. Fondriest combines restorative dentistry with artistry to help our patients achieve their oral health goals. We proudly serve individuals and families from the Chicago metropolitan area as well as the Northwest and North Shore suburbs. To schedule your consultation, call our office today at (847) 234-0517.