When you lose a tooth, you probably want to get it taken care of quickly and effectively. After all, a missing tooth can lead to bigger problems than a gaping hole in your smile: it can cause problems chewing, instigate jaw pain, and promote decay in your other teeth.
There are several solutions to a missing tooth, and you’ll want to talk with your dentist about all your options. One option you should be aware of is a dental bridge.
What is a dental bridge?
A dental bridge is essentially a false tooth (called a pontic) that is held in place by the teeth on either side of it (called the abutment teeth). A dental bridge may fill the gap created by one or more missing teeth.
Are there different types of dental bridges?
Yes. There are four types of dental bridges:
- Traditional/fixed: The most common type of dental bridge, this uses crowns on the abutment teeth to support the pontic(s) that are filling the gap.
- Cantilever: This type of bridge uses only one abutment tooth to support the pontic.
- Maryland: These bridges don’t require crowns on the abutment teeth. While this is beneficial in the sense that those teeth don’t have to be filed down, it can be detrimental in terms of strength and comfort.
- Implant-supported: These use implants secured in the jawbone to support the bridge. While very secure, they also require two surgeries over an extended period of time.
Which type is right for me?
Only your dentist can adequately answer this question. If you are missing a tooth and think a dental bridge might be your best option, visit your dentist as soon as possible to discuss your specific circumstances and recommended treatments.
What are the benefits of a dental bridge?
A dental bridge can restore your smile (and your confidence!) while also providing much needed support to your teeth and jaw. It can also help prevent some of the negative consequences of missing teeth, as we discussed earlier.
What is the procedure like?
The procedure usually requires local anesthetic to make it as pain-free as possible for you. For a traditional/fixed bridge (the most common type), your dentist will file down the surrounding teeth and place crowns on them. They will then place the artificial tooth in the gap, using the crowns on either side of it for support. The procedure usually takes a couple hours.
What is recovery like?
Recovery is quick and relatively comfortable. Most patients are able to eat very soon after the procedure, and most do not experience discomfort. If you do have problems with your bridge, your dentist can make adjustments for you.
Long-term care is fairly straightforward as well, simply requiring regular brushing, flossing, professional cleanings, and visits to your dentist.
Will it be obvious to others?
No! One of the great things about this treatment is that it blends seamlessly into your smile. Porcelain-colored pontics are used to create a natural-looking bridge that won’t stand out at all.
If you think a dental bridge could help improve your smile, schedule an appointment at Smile Concepts to talk about your options and get the process started. It’s our job to leave you with a smile you love!