A dental bridge is a set of crowns–artificial teeth–that is permanently anchored to the existing teeth on either side of a missing tooth, or teeth, using dental cement or bonding. Some bridges are designed to replace just one tooth, or several, to fill larger gaps. They are an alternative to implants or dentures for patients who may not have the existing gum and jaw structure necessary to support implants or who find dentures uncomfortable, difficult to keep up with, or simply undesirable. They are also ideal for patients with diabetes or autoimmune disorders who may not be able to recover properly from dental implant surgery. Each bridge is custom-made with a completely natural appearance and helps restore the proper function and aesthetic of your smile.
At Castle Dental, we believe everyone deserves a beautiful, healthy smile. Our dentists are highly trained and experienced in restoring smiles with dental bridges, and no matter the extent of your tooth loss or what has caused it, you’ll receive the compassionate, professional, and respectful care you deserve. Find the Castle Dental location nearest you and schedule an appointment today.
Everyone wants a complete and beautiful smile, but missing teeth do more than alter appearance. Gaps from missing teeth may affect how your teeth and bite function as well as the integrity of your entire facial structure. Gaps can cause teeth to shift and move out of proper alignment, leading to many other issues such as:
Gum Disease, Tooth Decay, and Infection
When dental shifting occurs due to a missing tooth or teeth, this may lead to some teeth moving closer together or shifting into odd positions, making it more difficult to floss and remove plaque. The plaque build-up may then result in gum disease, tooth decay, or even infection.
Difficult or Painful Chewing
In the absence of a tooth or teeth, chewing may become more painful or difficult causing people to eat less or different foods. This may lead to weight loss or poor nutritional habits.
Missing teeth may affect speech in adults and speech development in children. It can cause slurring, articulation problems, and the inability to make certain sounds when speaking.
The bone in the jawbone is preserved by the pressure and stimulus of chewing. Loss of a tooth or teeth impacts the health of the jawbone because the teeth are what aid in exercising it. Without this exercise, bone loss may occur leading to a weaker jawbone and even a change of shape in the jawbone itself.
People lose teeth for several reasons, and more than 120 million people in the U.S. alone are missing at least one tooth. Teeth may fall out as a result of an injury, gum disease, oral cancer, or severe tooth decay, or they may have needed to be extracted. Missing teeth may be embarrassing, but they are nothing to be ashamed of, and filling those gaps is important to maintaining a lifetime of good oral health.
Dental bridges are dental prosthetics that “bridge” the gap (or gaps) created by missing teeth, or serve as a placeholder for teeth that have not erupted. They can be classified by the type of materials used to make them–porcelain, porcelain and metal, and all-metal–and how they are attached to neighboring teeth.
Porcelain dental bridges are made completely from tooth-colored porcelain and they are the most natural-looking. However, they are mostly used for front teeth due to their fragility
Combined porcelain and metal dental bridges are made from metal that has been covered in porcelain to make them look more natural and can be used to replace back teeth.
All-metal dental bridges are the strongest, but do not look like natural teeth. They are generally used on back teeth only, and are not recommended as a standard of care for most dental professionals.
Traditional bridges are the most common type of bridges. The natural teeth on either side of the gap are filed down and covered with crowns, caps that cover the entire tooth. The false tooth or teeth are then attached to these neighboring crowns.
Cantilever bridges are used when there are not natural teeth on both sides of a gap, such as a missing back tooth or several back teeth in a row. Cantilever bridges are attached to only one crown on one side of the gap. Proper installation and careful dental supervision is important to reduce the strain cantilever bridges can exert on the natural teeth supporting them.
Maryland bridges, also known as Maryland-bonded bridges, are attached directly to the natural teeth on either side of the gap; the natural teeth are not filed down or covered with crowns first. Maryland bridges are more common for replacing missing front teeth, but only one or two teeth in a row can be replaced with this type of bridge. Maryland bridges may be recommended if the natural teeth on either side of the gap cannot be filed down to accommodate a crown.
Dental bridges are a more affordable tooth replacement option as compared to implants, but their cost can vary by the type of dental bridge used and if you need any additional procedures or treatments in preparation for the bridges. All-porcelain bridges will usually cost more than metal or porcelain-metal bridges. And if you need a cantilever bridge or your dentist needs to do extensive work on your remaining teeth in order to support the bridge, your costs may be higher as well. However, dental insurance may significantly reduce your costs, so be sure to check with a Castle Dental office to find out more. Castle Dental also offers flexible financing and payment options to help you afford your dental bridge.
Dental bridge placement typically occurs over two or more appointments.
1st Appointment: The doctor prepares the natural teeth on either side of your gap. In the case of traditional or cantilever bridges, some of the enamel on these teeth will be filed away and reshaped so a crown can be placed on them. You’ll receive temporary crowns to protect them and minimize sensitivity until you receive the permanent ones. Once the teeth are prepared, the dentist will take an impression of your teeth and send it to a lab, where your custom bridge and crowns will be created.
2nd Appointment: When your prosthesis is ready, you’ll go in for your second appointment. This is when the temporary crowns are removed and the new ones are attached. Before permanently attaching everything, your dentist may use a temporary cement or bonding so you can “test” the new bridge for a few weeks to make sure it fits comfortably and doesn’t need any adjustments.
Additional Appointments: If everything feels and functions fine, the bridge will be permanently placed during a third appointment. If there is some discomfort, you should report it and further adjustments will be made. Then, you may have another few weeks to test your dental bridge again.
Directly after your bridge placement, you may experience mild to moderate sensitivity in the gums and teeth surrounding the dental bridge. Some of your nerves may have been activated during the procedure, but any discomfort is usually temporary and will gradually subside. You may also experience some difficulty or awkwardness in chewing or speaking, especially if you have been living without teeth for a long time. However, your mouth, jaws, and tongue will quickly adapt, and your bridge will soon look, feel, and function just like natural teeth. And, with proper care and maintenance, your bridge should last 15 years or more. Your bridge will also require the same care as natural teeth, but here is a quick checklist of what you can do to ensure the best results:
A beautiful, healthy smile doesn’t have to be something you just dream about; it can become a reality with dental bridges from Castle Dental. With multiple retail locations, extended hours, and easy scheduling, Castle Dental is your local partner for comprehensive dental care. We offer affordable dental services for everyone in your family, from routine cleanings and restorative procedures like dental bridges all in one convenient office.
You deserve to be proud of your smile. Find a Castle Dental location near you to see if you can benefit from dental bridges!