Has your dentist suggested that you get a dental bridge as part of your treatment plan? This dental prosthesis is a useful solution for addressing specific issues, but you might have a lot of questions about it.
When Do You Need a Dental Bridge?
The most common usage for a dental bridge is addressing the loss of one or more teeth. You may need to get one or more teeth extracted, which leaves a gap in your bite. Eating normally could be difficult, and some people get self-conscious as a result of the missing teeth. Dental bridges restore functionality and the appearance to that area with a prosthesis that covers the gap with an artificial tooth.
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Types of Dental Bridges
When your dentist is putting together your treatment plan, they consider several types of dental bridges. A fixed bridge uses the surrounding teeth as an anchor point. Your healthy teeth get crowns placed on them in order to hold an artificial tooth in the right position, after having enough enamel removed to support the caps. A variation of this bridge, designed for front teeth, uses additional anchors.
Bonded bridges do not require crowns on the surrounding healthy teeth. Instead, the false tooth gets attached to your healthy teeth with small wings. You don't have the same strength that a fixed bridge does, but you keep the rest of your teeth intact.
An implant-supported bridge is an option when you have multiple missing teeth in a row. You end up with one or more implants that act as the anchor for your false teeth.
Dental Bridge Procedure
You go in for two appointments when you get a dental bridge. The first visit prepares your teeth for the prosthesis. For example, you get some enamel removed from anchor teeth or an implant post put in place. The dentist makes a tooth impression for your permanent bridge and gives you a temporary one to wear in the meantime. You get fitted with your custom bridge when you go in for the second visit. You may need follow-up visits to adjust the placement.
Post-Operative Care for a Dental Bridge
Most of the bridge aftercare involves good dental hygiene. You want to keep the area cleaned through regular brushing and flossing. The dentist may recommend that you use products that have extra fluoride added. Pay close attention to how the bridge feels in your mouth. This information helps your dentist make adjustments so you regain your natural bite, as it might take a few tries to get the bridge in the perfect position.
Schedule a professional dental cleaning every six months, if possible. You won't be able to get every single bit of food that may fall between cracks, but the dental hygienist can.
How to Improve the Longevity of Your Dental Bridge
The typical lifespan of a dental bridge is over a decade, depending on the materials used and how well you take care of them. Avoid food that contributes to tooth decay, such as acidic and sugary ingredients. Additionally, food with a hard or sticky texture can weaken or break a bridge.
Losing teeth due to injury, decay or illness is a frustrating and sometimes painful experience. Dental bridges help you regain normal mouth functionality, as well as helping with any self-esteem issues encountered due to the missing teeth.