Bridging the Gap: All About Dental Bridges

When a person loses a tooth they are met with many options. While dental implants are all the rage, there is still much to be said about the dental bridge. Long before titanium rods were able to be placed into the jaw bone, bridges were used to fill gaps in teeth and restore aesthetics and function of the teeth. If you are missing a tooth and are wondering what to do about it, take a second to learn about the dental bridge.

What is a Dental Bridge?

A dental bridge is a prosthetic dental appliance that fills the space where a tooth has been lost. It is fixed to the adjacent or abutment teeth to either side and can be permanent or removable, much like an orthodontic retainer. They are made out of many types of materials including ceramic, porcelain, composite resin, or acrylic, and are durable enough to last decades if properly taken care of.

The story of the bridge begins in the 1700s when Pierre Fauchard, the, “Father of Modern Dentistry” published The Surgeon Dentist. This momentous work detailed the practice of dentistry which included oral anatomy, function, techniques for repair and operation, as well as how to construct dentures and bridges. The art of making bridges continues to progress and reaches a historic milestone when Founding Father, Paul Revere, is able to identify a friend, Dr. Joseph Warren at the Battle of Breed’s Hill because of a bridge he had crafted. This act ushered in post-mortem dental forensics. Since then technology has only advanced and enabled millions more people to enjoy the look of their smiles and their ability to eat how they please.

How Are Bridges Placed?

Bridges are very interesting dental restorative appliances and have a few options when being placed. If you are receiving a permanent bridge, your Jacksonville, Florida dentist will measure your teeth and create a model to best replicate the tooth lost. She will also craft two crowns to fit on the abutment teeth. Once the appliance is ready to be placed she will remove a layer of enamel from the abutment teeth and bond the bridge into place. Because this appliance is permanent and attached to two other teeth, ensuring you’re taking proper care of them is key. If a removable bridge is right for you, a copy of the missing tooth will be made and set into a retainer-like appliance that fits perfectly into your mouth. This retainer installed with a bridge will be able to be removed and cleaned by the patient. Your routine will vastly change and if you have any questions on how to best clean and prevent oral problems with a bridge, ask Dr. Shields at your appointment.

How Can I Tell if a Bridge is Right for Me?

It is important to replace a missing tooth, and when you lose one you will find you have many options. When you lose a tooth it can become difficult to eat and embarrassing to smile. However aside from those two obvious reasons to replace, a missing tooth can also do damage to surrounding teeth, the intraoral tissues, and to the underlying jawbone.The teeth support each other and every other tissue in the mouth. When one disappears its workload is shifted to the other teeth, this can cause cracks and breaks in adjacent teeth and can cause the underlying bone to begin to deteriorate at a rapid rate. By replacing the tooth, you’re not only restoring your smile and oral function, but also restoring the integrity of your mouth as a system. Depending on your situation a bridge may be the perfect solution. Bridges are wonderful because they can be used to replace one or multiple teeth, and can be placed. If you are missing multiple teeth bridges can replace them at a reasonable cost. If the teeth next to your missing tooth are in good health a removable bridge can be used to replace the tooth and allow you to properly care for the remaining ones. Also, if the teeth next to the bridge are compromised, a bridge may be able to fortify the row, remove decay and create a stronger, more durable set of teeth. A bridge can be used in many different applications to repair, restore, and rejuvenate a smile.

If you have questions about if a bridge is right for your specific dental condition, call our Jacksonville, Florida dental practice today!

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