If you are missing one or more consecutive teeth, a dental bridge can help to “bridge the gap!” There are both cosmetic and health purposes for a dental bridge. Thus, many insurance policies will cover at least part of the procedure. If you’d like to know more about dental bridges provided by Dr. Tiffany Shields in Jacksonville, Florida — keep reading!
What Are Dental Bridges?
In the simplest terms, a dental bridge is a false tooth or multiple false teeth that fill a gap where there are missing teeth. If tooth decay causes a person to lose one or more teeth, the remaining teeth on either side of that gap may naturally try to shift to fill the gap. The teeth on either side of a gap are referred to as “abutment teeth.” A bridge composed of one or more false teeth fills that gap; this not only prevents shifting, but gives the appearance of a full and beautiful smile.
Types of Dental Bridges
There are different types of dental bridges that have been invented so far; we offer two of those types at Smiles by Shields Dentistry in Jacksonville, FL.
A “fixed bridge” is a semi-permanent and very stable option for patients. This type is cemented to the abutment teeth on either side of the gap created where one or more teeth are missing. Fixed bridges are made of fully biocompatible ceramic materials.
The other type is a removable bridge. These can be taken out for cleaning, which is incredibly convenient but not as long-lasting as a fixed bridge. Temporary bridges are also made of either flexible pieces of plastic or small pieces of metal that can hook or unhook from the abutment teeth.
The Dental Bridge Process
Dental bridges require two cosmetic dentistry appointments in Jacksonville, FL. During the first visit, the abutment teeth on either side of the gap are prepared for the bridge. This involves an injected anesthetic and reshaping the abutment teeth to receive dental crowns. When the abutment teeth are properly prepared, Dr. Shields will take a mold (impression) of the teeth so that a custom, one-of-a-kind bridge can be made for you. We may provide you with a temporary bridge to fill the gap in your teeth before the actual bridge is created in a lab.
It can take up to two weeks for the lab to create your custom dental bridge. During your second appointment, Dr. Shields installs the bridge and ensures that it fits properly. An incorrectly fitted bridge can impact your “bite,” which can lead to oral health problems that you will want to avoid! If the bridge and new abutment crowns fit properly, you’re good to go! If the lab has made an error in crafting the bridge, or it doesn’t fit properly for some reason, it will be “back to the drawing board” until it fits correctly.
Caring for Your New Dental Bridge
Once you have a dental bridge, it’s really important to continue visiting your dentist in Jacksonville, FL. The abutment teeth (or “anchor teeth”) become more susceptible to tooth decay or damage if you don’t continue a proper regiment of brushing and flossing. Be sure to continue to visit Smiles by Shields Dentistry for your twice-a-year appointments!
If properly cared for, a bridge can last for ten years or more. While it is not a “permanent” solution to a gap between teeth, it is a long-lasting one. It ensures that your remaining teeth will not shift out of alignment.
Bridges: A Cosmetic and Health Procedure
Dental bridges restore the appearance of all your smile. It will appear as if you never lost a tooth to begin with!
In addition, the bridge prevents long-term oral health problems that result from the other teeth trying to shift and “fill the gap.” If the remaining teeth shift out of place, it can lead to a “bite” that is out of alignment. This in turn can cause temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder, which leads to jaw pain, potential headaches, and other serious problems.