All of your teeth play an important role in speaking, chewing and in maintaining proper alignment of other teeth. Tooth loss doesn’t necessarily have to occur as you age, but if you do lose teeth they must be replaced to maintain proper function of your mouth. Fortunately, there are options for correcting tooth loss.
Dental Bridge Options
A dental bridge — a device used to replace missing teeth — attaches artificial teeth to adjacent natural teeth, called abutment teeth. Bridges are either permanently attached (fixed bridges), or they can be removable.
Fixed bridges are applied by either placing crowns on the abutment teeth or by bonding the artificial teeth directly to the abutment teeth. Removable bridges are attached to the teeth with metal clasps or by precision attachments.
If you’re missing one or more teeth, you may be aware of their importance to your appearance and dental health. Your teeth work together for many daily functions from eating to speaking. With missing teeth, it’s difficult to do these things. Missing teeth can and should be replaced. Fixed bridges are a great way to restore your dental health and appearance.
What exactly is a dental bridge or fixed partial denture?
A bridge (fixed partial denture) is a device which fills the gap where teeth are absent. Fixed bridges are bonded into place and can only be removed by a dental professional. Removable bridges, as the name implies, can be taken out and cleaned. Fixed bridges offer more stability than their removable counterparts.
Why do I need a dental bridge?
Oral functionality and appearance are important reasons for wearing a bridge. A bridge helps support your lips and cheeks. The loss of a back tooth may cause your mouth to sink and your face to look older.
Dental health is the most important reason for a bridge. Teeth were designed to complement each other. Unusual stresses are placed on the gums and other oral tissues when teeth are missing, causing a number of potentially harmful disorders.
Increased risk of gum disease has proven to be one of the worst side effects of missing teeth and can be minimized with a bridge.
Missing teeth can cause speech disorders as they are used to make many of the sounds we use to speak clearly.
How is a dental bridge attached?
The attachment procedure usually takes two or three appointments to complete. At the first appointment Dr. Mohandes will prepare the teeth on either side of the gap by removing a portion of the enamel and dentin.
Since the bridge must be fabricated very precisely to ensure correct bite and to match the opposing tooth, impressions of the teeth are taken and sent to a lab where the bridge will be constructed.
Fixed bridges are typically cemented to the natural teeth next to the space left by the missing tooth. A pontic (false tooth) replaces the lost tooth. Dental crowns, which are cemented onto the natural teeth, provide support for the bridge.
What materials are used for dental bridges?
Bridges can be constructed from gold alloys, non-precious alloys, porcelain, or a combination of these materials. Porcelain is often bonded to either precious or non-precious metal.
How do I take care of my bridge?
A strict regimen of brushing and flossing will keep the bridge and surrounding teeth clean. This is of critical importance as the bridge relies on the neighboring teeth for support.
How long do dental bridges last?
With good oral care, your dental bridge can last 7-10 years before needing replacement due to normal wear and tear. However, with high tech material and techniques we are using in our office, we have seen the crown bridges lasts much more and many times whole life in patients with good Oral Hygiene and care.
Why should I consider bridgework?
Dental bridges are a tooth replacement option that is affordable and virtually undetectable to others. That is called “fixed” tooth replacement which means the replaced tooth is fixed and not coming in and out like partial dentures. They are also easy to create and do not require invasive surgery. Bridgework is an excellent alternative if you are excluded from getting dental implants for some reasons.
How much does a dental bridge cost?
It depends on several factors, including the number of teeth being replaced, the materials used, and the time required to prepare the remaining teeth. Most bridgework runs between $2,000 and $5,000 (in patients with no dental insurance). Dr. Mohandes will review your dental bridge costs with you at your initial consultation so there are no surprises.
How long does it take to get used to a dental bridge?
Most patients adjust to their new bridge within a week or less. During this adjustment period, you may feel some mild discomfort or sensitivity (and many patients even not). This is easily controlled with over-the-counter pain relievers. You may also notice your bite feels a bit different, but you will adjust to this quickly.
How long does it take to get a dental bridge?
For most patients, 2-3 appointments are required. The teeth supporting the bridgework are prepared at the first appointment, and a digital impression of the mouth is taken. The impression is sent to our dental lab which is sent digitally in a few seconds, which fabricates the bridge. At the second appointment, the bridge is attached to the remaining teeth. If necessary, a third appointment is scheduled to fine-tune the fit.
What do I need to do after my bridgework is complete?
It may take several hours for the dental cement used to attach the bridgework to harden. For the first 24 hours, avoid eating anything sticky or hard.
Am I a candidate for a dental bridge?
Dental bridges work best for patients who are missing only a few teeth and whose remaining teeth are healthy enough to support the bridgework. If your remaining teeth are damaged, or multiple teeth are missing, you may have to consider other teeth replacement options.
How many teeth can I replace with dental bridges?
You can replace 1-4 missing teeth with a bridge. Any more than four can be challenging to support. If you have questions about dental bridges that are not answered here or are interested in learning more, please get in touch with our office at Fatemeh Mohandes, DDS, DMD Phone Number 281-454-3152 to schedule an appointment with Dr. Mohandes.