What are Dental Bridges? Explained By Your General and Family Dentist in Portland, Oregon
Updated: Mar 2
Because a single missing tooth increases the risk of tooth damage and decay as well as numerous other oral health problems, we always recommend replacing a missing tooth. There are many different tooth replacement options to suit a wide variety of needs and budgets, such as dental implants, dentures and bridges.
What Is A Dental Bridge?
A dental bridge literally bridges the gap between healthy teeth and a missing tooth. It is a good restoration option for patients who do not have enough bone structure to support a dental implant or who simply don’t want to commit to getting an implant. Bridges are a less costly alternative to replacing a missing tooth compared to a dental implant, and will still provide a long-lasting restoration to your smile.
The traditional 3-unit dental bridge consists of the replacement tooth (the pontic) held in place on either side by dental crowns (abutments), which are cemented onto the healthy teeth on either side of the missing tooth.
Benefits of Dental Bridges
Because dental bridges are fixed into place, they are very stable. They prevent the shifting of surrounding teeth, bite and alignment issues that would otherwise occur with a missing tooth. Patients with a dental bridge will find that they can speak and chew quite comfortably, and there is usually little to no need to change eating habits. Dental bridges are also custom made for each patient to match their surrounding teeth, meaning your smile will look very natural!
Getting a dental bridge is very similar to the process of getting a dental crown, and typically takes two or more visits.
During the first visit, the abutment (neighboring healthy) teeth are reshaped so that crowns can be placed over them. An impression of the teeth is made, which is sent to a dental laboratory to create the bridge. In the meantime, you will be fitted with a temporary bridge to protect your teeth while the permanent one is being crafted.
During your second visit, your dentist will remove the temporary bridge and check and adjust the new permanent bridge for proper fit, bite, and aesthetic appearance. Once that is complete, the dentist will cement the bridge into place.
How To Care For Your Dental Bridge
As with all dental restorations, proper care of your bridge is extremely important to avoid difficulties with the restoration and prolong its life. Fortunately, caring for a dental bridge is quite easy; it simply needs good oral hygiene and care. That means: brush and floss daily to keep your entire mouth and area surrounding the bridge healthy, and visit your dentist regularly! With proper dental hygiene and care, bridges can typically last for 10-15 years or longer!
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