Losing your teeth is a serious issue that can have a major impact on your oral health and your overall quality of life. Even losing just one tooth can have a huge impact. When you lose teeth, basic tasks like eating and speaking become challenging. Food can become lodged in the gaps, increasing your risk for developing tooth decay and gum disease. Your healthy teeth begin to shift from their natural positions, moving into the gap, throwing off your bite. In doing so, you may be faced with a whole host of oral health issues, including grinding, uneven tooth wear, and serious jaw pain. The appearance of your smile is affected, which can also impact your confidence. At Crossroads Family Dental, we can help to restore your oral health, your smile, and your quality of life with bridges.
What is a dental bridge?
When you lose a tooth, a gap is left behind between your healthy teeth. A bridge is a dental restoration that is designed to "bridge" that gap with a replacement tooth and can replace up to three consecutive missing teeth. While there are a few different types of bridges, the fixed bridge is the most common. Typically made from ceramic, your replacement (pontic) tooth is set between two dental crowns. The dental crowns are meant to attach to the adjacent healthy teeth (called the abutment teeth), effectively anchoring the bridge in place.
How is a dental bridge placed in my mouth?
A fixed bridge is placed similarly to crowns and requires two separate appointments. During your first appointment, we prepare the abutment teeth. We trim, or remove, a portion of the enamel, which creates the space necessary for the crowns to fit over them, ensuring a proper, comfortable fit. Next, we take an impression of your mouth and send it to our lab. There, your custom bridge is designed and created. It can take up to two weeks, in most cases, for your bridge to be finalized and returned. During this time, you will be provided with a temporary restoration. When it is ready, you return to the office so that we can check the fit of the bridge and cement it in place.
Do bridges require special care?
In short, bridges do not require any special care. They do, however, require that you care for them like you would the rest of your natural teeth. This includes brushing twice daily and flossing, along with regular dental cleanings and exams. Your bridge may not be able to suffer decay and cavities, but it can still collect the plaque and bacteria that can be harmful to your natural teeth and your gums. Properly cared for, most bridges can last 15 years or more.
What are the benefits of a bridge?
A bridge has several benefits:
• It restores the functions of your teeth, including eating and speech.
• Improved digestion.
• Your oral health is improved.
• Bridges prevent your healthy teeth from shifting out of their natural positions.
• Your facial shape is maintained.
Replacing missing teeth, even if you are only missing one, is important for restoring your oral health and your quality of life. If you are missing teeth, contact Crossroads Family Dental today at 219-865-4095 and find out if a bridge is right for you.