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According to the American College of Prosthodontists, approximately 178 million Americans are missing at least one tooth, and about 40 million adults are completely edentulous. Dental bridges are a standard solution for replacing missing teeth, restoring your smile, and improving oral health.

If you’re considering getting a dental bridge, it’s essential to understand the procedure, the types of bridges available, and how to care for them.

What is a Dental Bridge?

A dental bridge is a prosthesis that fills a gap in your smile created by one or more missing teeth. It consists of crowns on the adjacent teeth (abutment teeth) and artificial teeth (pontics) to fill the gap. The bridge is designed to look and function like natural teeth.

Types of Dental Bridges

Different types of dental bridges are available, depending on the location of the missing tooth and your oral health. After a thorough oral examination, your dentist will determine the type most suitable for your situation.

  • Traditional Bridge: The most common type involves creating crowns for the abutment teeth and placing a pontic in between. The bridge is typically made from metal, porcelain, or ceramic.
  • Maryland Bridge: This is a popular option for teeth at the front of the mouth that do not perform a lot of chewing. It involves attaching the pontic to metal or porcelain wings bonded to the adjacent teeth. The flaps are placed on the backs of the teeth so they’re invisible from the front.
  • Cantilever Bridge: This type is used when only one adjacent tooth is available to support the bridge. However, because it is only supported on one side, it is weaker than a traditional bridge and is generally not used to replace a molar where chewing can create excess bite force.
  • Implant-Supported Bridge: Dental implants are surgically placed in the jawbone to support the bridge instead of relying on adjacent teeth. Since surgery is involved, the procedure is more complex, and you will need more time to recover. Your dentist may recommend an implant-supported bridge if your natural teeth aren’t healthy enough to support a traditional fixed bridge.

The Dental Bridge Procedure

The dental bridge procedure usually requires multiple visits. During the initial visit, the abutment teeth are prepared by removing a small portion of the enamel. Your dentist takes impressions of the teeth to create a custom bridge.

A temporary bridge is placed to protect the prepared teeth while the permanent bridge is being made. In the final visit, the temporary bridge is removed, and the permanent bridge is carefully fitted and adjusted for optimal comfort and functionality.

Benefits of Dental Bridges

Dental bridges offer several benefits. These include restoring your smile and facial appearance, improving your ability to speak and chew properly, preventing adjacent teeth from shifting, and enhancing your self-confidence and overall quality of life.

They also don’t require invasive surgery like a dental implant does and are completed in less time, making them a more affordable solution.

Care and Maintenance

Proper care and maintenance are essential to ensure the longevity and optimal function of your dental bridge. You can keep your bridge in excellent condition by following a few simple steps.

  • Brush your teeth twice daily with a soft toothbrush and toothpaste with fluoride.
  • Floss daily to remove plaque and debris from around the bridge.
  • Use a bridge threader or super floss to clean under the false tooth.
  • Rinse your mouth with an antimicrobial mouthwash to reduce bacteria.
  • Avoid chewing on hard or sticky foods that can damage the bridge.
  • Regularly visit your dentist for check-ups and professional cleanings.

Potential Risks and Considerations

While dental bridges are generally safe and effective, it’s important to be aware of potential risks and considerations associated with them.

  • Temporary sensitivity or discomfort is common after the procedure due to the enamel removal. It is temporary and should subside within a week.
  • The bridge may become loose or dislodged, requiring adjustments or repairs.
  • Gum disease or decay around the bridge due to trapped bacteria and food debris.
  • There may be some bone loss in the area where the tooth was missing, which can affect future treatments, such as dental implant surgery.

Schedule Your Missing Teeth Consultation Today

Dental bridges are an effective solution for replacing missing teeth and restoring your smile. To find out if you are a candidate for a dental bridge procedure or to discuss your missing teeth replacement options, contact Valley Dental Care of Plainfield at (815) 436-6800.

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