If you have recently lost your tooth, whether due to an injury, medical condition, or natural causes, you may be wondering what your options are to restore your smile. A missing tooth can create an unsightly gap, but it’s often more than a cosmetic problem. You could also experience pain when chewing, discomfort in your jaw, or other problems that are caused by a change to your bite.
One of the most common solutions to this problem is having a dental bridge placed in your mouth. If you haven’t gone through this procedure before, it’s helpful to understand the process and what to expect.
A dental bridge is a solution when you have lost a tooth, or when you have a gap that is causing your other teeth to become loose. This replacement tooth will fill in the space where something is missing, creating a natural appearance while helping to restore the tooth.
There are four main types of bridges, and your dentist will determine which is the right option for your situation.
If you think a dental bridge could be right for you, it’s important to understand what to expect during and after this common tooth replacement procedure.
Your dentist will first conduct a thorough dental exam to determine if you are a good candidate for a dental bridge procedure. 3-D dental cone beam CT scans may also be used which can give your dentist a much closer look at your mouth and jaw structure. Be advised that some patients need additional dental treatments to get their teeth and gums healthy before they can schedule a dental bridge procedure.
Your dentist will either recommend same-day dental crowns, or lab-fabricated crowns to craft any teeth needed for your dental bridge.
Once it is determined that you are good candidate for the procedure, your dentist will prepare and reshape your natural teeth that are adjacent to your missing teeth. Doing so will allow your healthy teeth to accommodate the dental crowns used to bridge the gap in your smile. Because this process will require tooth reshaping, the area that is being worked on will be numbed with a local anesthetic so you won’t feel a thing.
If you have just one missing tooth, your dental bridge will be comprised of three units: two dental crowns (abutments) that will cover the healthy teeth on either side of the bridge, and then another tooth (pontic) to fill the empty space between them.
If you have more than one missing tooth, additional pontics will be needed, and more abutment teeth may be required. This will all depend on your unique needs.
If your dentist recommends same-day dental crowns, an optical impression of your prepared teeth will be taken and uploaded using special computer software. Your dentist will then use the software to design any crowns you may need for your bridge. An in-house milling machine will grind a block of tooth-colored dental ceramic into the shapes designed specifically for your crowns.
Once your crowns are created, your dentist will refine and fit them accordingly and then permanently cement them into place — in just one visit!
If your dentist feels you are better-suited for lab-fabricated crowns, a mold of your prepared teeth will be taken using a special dental putty. This 3-D model will help dental lab techs to craft dental crowns that are unique to your smile. Because it can take a couple of weeks to receive your permanent dental bridge, your dentist will place a temporary bridge during this appointment to ensure your smile is protected while you wait.
Once your dental crowns are ready, you will return to your dentist’s office for placement of your permanent bridge. During this time, your new crowns will be fitted and bonded to the adjacent teeth, and the pontic tooth will be fitted and bonded to the empty space.
You should expect some transition time after your procedure in order to get accustomed to the feel of your dental bridge, and accept it as a part of your own smile. Some simple ways to keep your teeth healthy after dental bridge are:
You can ask your dentist for advice on daily dental treatments, how to brush or floss properly. Then, just try to maintain this habit every day, the condition of teeth and gums will improve and stabilize.
Dental experts say that dental bridges can be expected to last anywhere from 5-15 years, but a lot of it depends on how well the individual has cared for their bridge and surrounding teeth in the intervening years. Your oral hygiene routine and diet, as well as the frequency of your visits to a Lake Jackson dentist, play a huge role in your bridge’s longevity.
The cost of dental bridges depends on several factors, including:
We are dedicated to providing comprehensive oral health treatment to all our patients. Our team, led by Dr. Tafreshi, believes that a solid doctor-patient relationship is built on mutual trust and respect. We work closely with each patient to establish a lifelong partnership and provide personalized treatment plans. We want you to feel empowered in making decisions about your oral health. Don't let dental care be a luxury out of reach; we believe a beautiful smile is easily achievable for everyone. Schedule an appointment today, and let us help you achieve your dental goals.
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