What an awful feeling it is to lose a tooth as an adult. It’s embarrassing, possibly painful, and can be a nuisance as well. Trying to speak and chew after losing a tooth can feel uncomfortable and unnatural. It can also be overwhelming, when you consider how many restorative options there are for completing your smile. Dental implants are a popular choice, as are dentures. But did you know that dental bridges are another great option, one that might be right for you? There are many benefits of dental bridges. They offer stability and beauty, making them a great way to regain your confidence after tooth loss.
What Is a Dental Bridge?
Like many restorative dental treatments, a dental bridge uses a replacement tooth to fill the gap created by the tooth loss. What makes it unique, however, is that it is secured in place by crowns that are affixed to the teeth adjacent to the gap. This creates not only a strong restoration, but a beautiful one as well, since the porcelain crowns and replacement tooth will all be carefully crafted to match your natural teeth. Porcelain crowns cover the entire exposed portion of each abutment tooth with durable porcelain that is not only shaped to look like a natural tooth, but also dyed to match the specific color of your smile. In between these crowns, an artificial tooth hovers over the socket of the missing tooth. This section of the bridge replaces tooth function and restores your ability to chew with ease.
Restoration is necessary after tooth loss, even if the missing tooth is not in a highly visible part of your mouth, because it helps to preserve your other teeth’s natural alignment. Without some form of restoration, you may encounter severe, even painful misalignment.
Much like a structural bridge, dental bridges consist of two anchor points which support a structure over a gap. Dental bridges include two porcelain crowns, bonded to surrounding teeth, which support an artificial tooth in the middle. The teeth surrounding the gap, known as abutment teeth, are the bases for the dental bridge.
Dental Bridge Procedure
A dental bridge provides a natural looking, dependable replacement tooth (or teeth). The replacement tooth is connected by securing crowns to adjacent teeth.
After your consultation, here’s what you can expect from your dental bridge procedure:
- Dr. Fondriest will prepare two teeth for crowns.
- We will take an impression of your prepared teeth and sent to our dental laboratory where a technician will fabricate your custom bridge.
- Dr. Fondriest will attach a temporary bridge that protects the prepped teeth until your next appointment.
- When your permanent bridge is ready, you’ll come in for an appointment. Dr. Fondriest will adjust the prosthetic as necessary to give you a comfortable fit and properly aligned bite.
- Once all adjustments are made, the bridge will be cemented in place and, with proper care, it can last up to ten years.
Benefits of Dental Bridges
A dental bridge is a viable solution to replace missing teeth, and it costs less than other treatments. Other benefits include:
- Natural looking and durable
- It is fixed and non-removable
- Can replace one or more teeth and make the new tooth look real with ovate pontics
- Can correct some bite abnormalities
- Can be accomplished in two easy appointments
- Bridges can be a less expensive alternative to dental implants.
What Makes Bridges Different?
- Increased confidence is one of the most important benefits of dental bridges
- Increased arch stability, both while smiling and chewing.
- Bridges are a more affordable option than dental implants.
- Because a porcelain bridge uses porcelain crowns, your completed restoration will be beautiful and natural-looking.
Don’t Settle for an Incomplete Smile
There are several important reasons to complete the smile after tooth loss, not the least of which is to improve the look of your smile. Other important reasons include:
- When a tooth is lost, nearby teeth often shift trying to fill the created gap. Another one of the benefits of dental bridges is that they help to prevent this, by closing the gap. Therefore, prosthetic dentistry can help to preserve remaining teeth’s alignment, helping to prevent further loss of teeth as well as discomfort, associated with misaligned teeth.
- Dental bridges also help to improve your smile. Missing teeth can make it difficult to chew comfortably, which can eventually lead to poor nutrition, especially if several teeth are missing. A prostheses helps makes meals more enjoyable, and getting proper nutrition more sustainable.
- In some cases, prosthetics can even help to supply nutrients to the jaw, which help to maintain its structure over time. Dental implants are the best way to do this, because implant posts help to mimic the role of a healthy tooth root, by supplying nutrients to the jaw each time one chews. Implants can even be used in conjunction with dental bridges to complete a smile.
What Makes Bridges Unique?
Dental bridges are an effective form of smile completion because they rely on dental crowns to help stabilize a replacement teeth, such as a partial denture. These crowns are either affixed to remaining teeth, or sometimes stabilized using dental implants. Either way, they are permanently attached to the replacement tooth or teeth, in order to complete the smile cosmetically as well as functionally. Bridges are excellent alternatives to implants. Many patients choose not to go through the long process for implants.
Learn more about the benefits of dental bridges
Aside from providing dependable general and restorative dentistry services to our community, Dr. James Fondriest also holds respected academic appointments at the Pankey Institute in Key Biscayne, FL, and the Spear Institute in Scottsdale, AZ, and he is a former 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, knowledgeable staff, and we proudly serve patients from Chicago and surrounding communities.