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Everything You Need to Know About Dental Bridges
A dental bridge is a permanent prosthesis used to replace missing teeth. A traditional bridge consists of one or more artificial teeth fused between two crowns, which are cemented to the teeth on either side of the gap in your smile. However, your dentist may recommend a more specialized solution, such as:
- An implant bridge: This type of bridge is typically used if you’re missing several teeth or the adjacent teeth aren’t strong enough to support a traditional bridge. Instead of being cemented to your natural teeth, the crowns are anchored to dental implants, which are artificial titanium tooth roots surgically inserted in the jawbone.
- A resin-bonded bridge: This type of bridge is typically used if you’re missing teeth in the front of your mouth. In this case, the artificial teeth are fused together and secured to the backs of the adjacent natural teeth.
- A cantilever bridge: If you have healthy teeth on only one side of the gap in your smile, this type of bridge may be used. However, since the prosthesis is only supported by one crown, the bridge is less secure.
Your dentist will determine the most suitable type of bridge for you based on your oral health and the location of the gaps in your smile.
The Benefits of a Dental Bridge
A dental bridge is typically used to restore the natural look of your smile. However, it also plays an important role in protecting your remaining teeth and the surrounding tissue. If left untreated, a gap in your smile can cause your other teeth to shift and potentially loosen. Your gums and jawbone might also recede.
Additionally, a dental bridge will help restore the function of your smile. By filling in the gaps, this prosthesis makes it easier to speak clearly, chew properly and bite down evenly.
Am I Right for a Dental Bridge?
While dental bridges offer several benefits, they’re not a suitable cosmetic treatment option for everyone. You may be a candidate for this type of prosthesis if:
- You’re missing one to three consecutive teeth
- You’re in good health with no signs of gum disease
- You have strong, healthy teeth on either side of the gap
- Your jawbone can support implants if needed
If you’re missing numerous teeth or otherwise unsuited for a bridge, full or partial dentures may be the right alternative. Speak with your dentist to determine the best treatment option.
The Procedure: What to Expect
If you need dental implants, surgery will be required. Otherwise, a dental bridge procedure takes two appointments to complete.
During the first visit, your dentist will file down the adjacent teeth to prepare them for the crowns. Next, your dentist will take an impression of your teeth. This will be used to create a custom bridge. In the meantime, you’ll be fitted with a temporary bridge to protect the filed teeth.
During the second visit, your dentist will replace the temporary bridge with the permanent prosthesis by cementing the crowns to your filed teeth or dental implants.
How to Take Care of Your Dental Bridge
If properly maintained, a dental bridge can last 10 years or longer. The key is to prevent tooth decay, which can weaken your abutment teeth and cause your crowns to loosen or fall off. To avoid this, you should:
- Brush your natural and artificial teeth twice a day with a soft-bristled brush
- Floss between your teeth and beneath your artificial teeth daily, using a floss threader if necessary
- Schedule a professional cleaning and dental exam twice a year
Additionally, be sure to drink plenty of water, limit your consumption of sugary food and avoid smoking or chewing tobacco products.
Schedule a Consultation With Your Dentist in SE Calgary
At Forest Lawn Dental Centre, we offer a variety of cosmetic dentistry treatments to help you restore and maintain a healthy smile. For more information about dental bridges, or to schedule an appointment at our clinic in SE Calgary, contact us today.
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