model of a dental bridge

When patients have missing teeth, there are several options that can effectively help. Depending on the situation, dental bridges can be an ideal choice to replace missing teeth, prevent further damage, and boost a patient’s self-confidence. A dental bridge can also improve a patient’s ability to bite, chew and speak more naturally.

What is a Dental Bridge?

A dental bridge is a popular dental device that is permanently fixed to existing teeth or implants to cover up gaps caused by one or more missing teeth. In general, a “bridge” is created using a pontic, or artificial tooth, and abutments, which are anchored to the teeth or implants on either side of the space created by the missing tooth or teeth.

What are the Different Types of Dental Bridges?

Dentist holding dental bridge

There are three main types of dental bridges. Depending on where the gaps in the teeth are located or how healthy existing teeth are for the abutments, your Reno dentist will choose the best option for your situation.

  • Conventional Bridges. Consisting of two abutment teeth to anchor the bridge, and one or more pontic teeth to fill the gap, conventional bridges are the most common type of dental bridge. They are often made by fusing ceramic or porcelain to metal.
  • Cantilever Bridges. Some patients only have one healthy natural tooth on one side of the gap created by the missing tooth. The difference between these and conventional bridges are that cantilever bridges are only attached to one tooth rather than two on either side.
  • Resin-Bonded Bridges. Also referred to as Maryland bridges, the pontic teeth are fused to metal, then resin cement is used to attach the pontic to the abutments. If missing multiple teeth, these bridges are typically not as strong and should only be considered if missing one tooth.

What is the Process When Getting a Dental Bridge?

Depending on what type of dental bridge a patient is getting, there may be slight differences in the bridge application. But generally, the process includes the following steps:

  • Abutment (Crown) Preparation. The teeth on either side of the missing tooth will need to be prepared for the bridge by cleaning and resizing. This ensures the abutment teeth will best support and fit the pontic tooth or teeth. Local anesthesia will be administered before this step.
  • Impression of the Area. Your dentist will then take an impression of the area of your mouth where the dental bridge will be placed. The mold is then sent to the lab to create the permanent dental bridge.
  • Temporary Bridge. While the final bridge is being made, your dentist will fit you with a temporary dental bridge to protect the teeth from damage or shifting. This process should not be any longer than a few weeks.
  • Permanent Bridge. Your dentist will contact you once the final dental bridge is ready. You will need to return to the office to remove the temporary bridge and have the permanent bridge fitted and placed with dental cement.

As with many dental procedures, there will be a short adjustment period following the placement of the final bridge. However, this should only last a few days. If you are experiencing discomfort more than a week after the bridge is placed, let your dentist know right away so any further issues can be prevented.

Do I Need a Dental Bridge?

If you have missing teeth, you could be the perfect candidate for a dental bridge. Dental bridges can play an important role when it comes to preventing issues, such as the shifting of teeth and changing a patient’s ability to bite or chew productively.

It’s important to remember that dental bridges are designed to be a permanent dental fixture and changes done to the abutment teeth cannot be reversed. Some patients may feel uncomfortable with that and should carefully consider the benefits of other options, such as partial dentures, before committing to a dental bridge. However, if patients decide to go with a dental bridge and practice good oral hygiene, the dental bridge could easily last for 10 years or more! After that, the bridge may need to be replaced after it becomes worn down or damaged.

But before a decision can be made, you will need to consult with your dentist to evaluate whether or not a dental bridge is the right option for you. If you’d like to schedule an appointment at one of our Reno Absolute Dental locations, give us a call today! We’re happy to answer all your questions regarding dental bridges or any other dental services you may need.

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