A missing tooth can significantly diminish your confidence in your smile. It surpasses a purely cosmetic problem when it begins causing you pain while chewing, jaw discomfort, and other issues caused by a change in your bite.
The most common solution to this issue is a dental bridge. But, what is a dental bridge and how does it restore your smile?
A dental bridge is simply a replacement tooth that is inserted where there is a gap or missing tooth. Without a dental bridge, other teeth are at risk of becoming loose. The bridge will not only improve the appearance of your smile, but it will prevent other dental issues.
If you think you may need a dental bridge, consider setting up a consultation with one of our specialists before symptoms arise. Beforehand, it’s best to familiarise yourself with the options for this procedure.
Types of Dental Bridges
There are four types of dental bridges. Here are overviews of each:
1. Traditional Dental Bridges
Traditional dental bridges are the most common and popular type of bridge. This entails one or several fake teeth secured in place by dental crowns, which are cemented around the missing tooth.
This type is used when there are natural teeth on both sides of the hole where the missing tooth is. The enamel of the teeth next to the where the bridge will be inserted must be removed to create room for the crowns. Because of this, these teeth will always need to have a crown to prevent damage.
2. Cantilever Bridges
Cantilever bridges are much like traditional bridges aside from the fact that a crown on only one side holds the fake tooth. A cantilever bridge is usually chosen if there is only one real tooth next to the missing tooth.
3. Maryland Bridges
Maryland bridges differ from the first two types of bridges because they do not require the adjacent teeth to have their enamel stripped. They are instead supported by a porcelain or metal framework that is secured on the backside of the two teeth next to the missing tooth. This type of bridge is not as sturdy since it isn’t cemented in place.
4. Implant-Supported Bridges
Implant-supported bridges are the bridge of choice when there is more than one missing tooth. Unlike the previous types, this type is supported by an implant into the jaw. Every missing tooth requires its own implant. In turn, these implants secure the bridge.
Implant-supported bridges are a very comfortable option and they do not require support from any other teeth. This type of implant will require more than one procedure since the implants and the bridge must be placed separately.
What is the Dental Bridge Procedure Like?
Patients are typically left awake during this procedure. If you are experiencing anxiety or nervousness, you may ask for mild sedation so you are more comfortable. The area of your mouth where the procedure will take place will be numbed with local anaesthesia. Here are the steps that follow once your mouth has been numbed:
- The supporting teeth will be filed in preparation for the bridge. In order to create room for the crowns, the enamel must be shaved down.
- Impressions of your teeth must be made next so the bridge, crowns, and pontics (fake teeth) can be made according to the model of your teeth.
- A temporary bridge will also be made to protect your gums and teeth until the permanent bridge is complete.
- After your initial visit, you will return for a second visit and the permanent bridge will be placed. It may be adjusted several times before the perfect fit is found.
This is what the procedure generally entails, but it may vary depending on the type of bridge you are getting.
How Long do Bridges Last?
The lifespan of a bridge can extend longer than 10-15 years if you take good care of it. This means solid oral hygiene routine and frequent check-ups with your dentist. The longevity of your bridge depends on how well you maintain it.
How Will It Affect Your Eating?
Your ability to eat may actually be improved after getting a bridge. This is because missing teeth hinder your ability to bite properly. Bridges correct your bite and make it easier to chew.
Other Benefits of Dental Bridges
- If your missing tooth is visible, the appearance of your smile will suffer. Getting a bridge will make your smile more attractive and uniform.
- A missing tooth can actually affect your speech. By obtaining a bridge, you can correct this and speak more normally.
- If there is a gap between your teeth where there shouldn’t be, your teeth may drift out of place. Not only can misaligned teeth further diminish the uniformity of your smile, but they can also lead to future dental problems.
Caring For Your Dental Bridge
Luckily, there is close to no recovery necessary after your procedure. You will be able to eat immediately after the dental bridge is placed and there is no associated adjustment period with this type of procedure. Most patients don’t even experience pain after the procedure. If there is any pain, it can quickly be fixed with a slight bridge adjustment.
A good dental care routine is imperative to maintain your bridge’s strength. In order to take proper care of your bridge, you should brush twice a day, floss frequently, and use an antiseptic mouthwash to expel chances of gum disease and tooth decay.
It’s also important to eat a nutritious diet and avoid sugary or processed foods. Too much of these foods can lead to cavities, and eventually tooth decay.
How To Seek Help
Valley Ridge Dental Centre is proud to be a provider of quality dental care in the NE Calgary area. If you’re convinced a bridge is what you need, we can go over each plan and determine which bridge will be most beneficial to you. Contact our office today to get started!