Preventative care, including cleanings, exams and x-rays
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All of your teeth play an important role in speaking and chewing. Each tooth is also essential for maintaining the proper alignment of the maxilliary (upper) and mandibular (lower) teeth. When you lose one, the adjacent teeth could slowly inch into the vacant space, expanding the gaps between the remaining teeth and possibly changing their alignment.
Tooth loss is, unfortunately, unavoidable. From high-sugar diets to love for impact sports, our daily activities often lead to decay or blunt force trauma. Regardless of the cause of the loss of your teeth, you must have them replaced so that you can maintain proper function of your mouth. Shea Dental offers several 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 dental 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.
What Are Dental Bridges?
Dental bridges are essentially dental prosthetics that solve the problem of tooth loss by filling the vacant space on the gum line with artificial teeth. They are ideal for patients seeking more affordable options to treat single or multiple tooth loss.
A bridge consists of at least two crowns, one on each end of the bridge with fake teeth attached in between. The two crowns serve as the bridge’s anchors and are bonded on the real teeth or dental implants on either side of the gap. These anchoring crowns are called the abutments, while the fake teeth are called pontics.
We recommend this therapy to patients who meet a specific set of criteria, which include the following
At most four teeth are missing in a single gap (five is too long and would exert too much force on the abutments and increase the bridge’s tendency to break when eating).
There’s enough space for the pontics between the gums and existing opposing teeth (opposing teeth tend to move towards toothless gaps, a scenario called vertical migration).
There are enough real teeth left for the dental bridge to anchor on.
Types of Dental Bridges
Shea Dental offers four types of dental bridges:
The abutments are attached to real teeth
The abutments are anchored on dental implants.
A bridge with only one abutment.
A bridge that uses a metal or porcelain framework instead of crowns for abutments.
Having these options allows us to replace lost teeth regardless of their location. We will recommend the best options for your unique situation.
Dental bridges also come in two kinds:
These dental prosthetics are bonded in place and therefore more stable than their removable counterparts. We can, however, remove fixed bridges should they need replacement.
A partial denture that you can take off and clean whenever necessary, a removable bridge may be helpful when transitioning to permanent teeth replacement.
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 dental 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.
Why should You Consider Getting Dental Bridges?
Maintaining proper oral function, being confident with your smile, and achieving optimal health are three excellent reasons for getting dental bridges.
Missing teeth can cause speech disorders because they, along with the lips, tongue, and cheeks, are necessary for producing speech sounds. Air flows through specific gaps of the teeth when we speak certain vowels and consonants. It would be difficult to enunciate those sounds and make oneself understood when conversing if you don’t have teeth.
On Your Appearance
People associate full, round cheeks with youth as it is a common physical trait among children. In contrast, droopy and sunken cheeks are perceived as characteristics that come with age. It makes sense: many old people do lose the fat in their cheeks as time progresses.
Losing several of your teeth will have a noticeable effect on your face. It can cause your cheeks to appear sunken and your mouth to look pursed. These physical changes can make you look older than your age.
A dental bridge can support your lips and cheeks and fill the vacant space where your teeth should be. Your cheeks don’t look hollow, which helps to maintain your youthful appearance.
On Dental and Overall Physical Health
Multiple teeth loss can increase your risk for gum disease as the absence of teeth makes the gums more susceptible to bacteria and bruising from chewing. Getting dental bridges reduces that risk. Having a complete set of teeth also enables you to eat a wide variety of food, which is beneficial for your health.
HOW IS A DENTAL BRIDGE ATTACHED?
The attachment procedure usually takes two or three appointments to complete. At the first appointment, Dr. Siegel 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.
Our Treatment Process
Treatment with dental bridges may take two or more appointments to complete. On your first visit, we will examine your remaining teeth or existing implants, gums, and bone density. The purpose of the examination is to confirm if you are eligible for dental bridges.
If you get the all-clear, we will prepare the anchors for your dental bridge (the teeth on either side of the gap). Our dentists will remove a portion of the enamel and dentin, reshaping the natural teeth to form cylindrical abutments. This is necessary because the abutment crowns must fit perfectly over the anchors.
Dental bridges must be custom-made to match the shape, size, and alignment of the rest of your teeth. So, after prepping the anchors, we will take impressions of your teeth and send them to a lab. Creating your bridges could take one week or longer; in the meantime, we will cover the anchors with temporary crowns.
Once bridges are ready, we will remove the temporary crowns then fit and cement the dental bridge in place. The procedure will only take about an hour. We might ask you to return after a few weeks to check on the fit and ensure your comfort.
What Are Dental Bridges Made Of?
Bridges can be constructed from gold, silver, and non-precious metal alloys. Gold used to be the most popular material for the abutments and pontics, but patients’ preferences have now shifted towards more natural-looking alternatives like porcelain, zirconia, or a combination of these materials (ceramic compounds).
The material will be carefully selected based on its compatibility with your gums, jaw bone density, and the anchors for your bridges. The type of dental bridges you’ll get will also influence our recommendation.
If you are getting a traditional dental bridge, for example, metal alloys would be more appropriate. They bond best with natural teeth. They’re also the most durable among the materials mentioned above. Porcelain, meanwhile, is best for Maryland dental bridges. They can fuse well with the metal frame that makes up the abutments of the bridge (porcelain fused to metal or PFM crowns are another type of crowns you can get).
Caring for Your Dental Bridges
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.Dental bridges are low-maintenance in that you only need to have good oral hygiene habits. Brush your teeth with fluoride toothpaste at least two times a day, followed by flossing. Pay particular attention to the gum line as they are prone to plaque buildup. Porcelain crowns are also susceptible to decay, so you need to keep them and your natural anchor teeth decay-free.
You must also avoid sticky and hard food while wearing temporary crowns (it could dislodge and break the crowns, respectively) and within 24 hours of getting your dental bridges (to allow the abutment to be cemented completely on the anchor tooth or implant). Keep in mind that dental bridges are dependent on the health of its anchors, so care for them whether they are natural teeth or implants.
Consult with Shea Dental to find out if dental crowns and bridges can be the solution to your dental problem. Drop by our clinic in Scottsdale, Arizona, or call (480) 998-3923 to book an appointment.