Dental Bridges Pasadena TX
What Are Dental Bridges?
A bridge is a dental prosthetic that “bridges” the gap of your missing tooth/teeth. The bridge consists of crowns on the healthy teeth on each side of the gap (these are also called the abutment teeth). Between the crowns is an artificial tooth or teeth (called pontics) that replace the missing teeth. Bridges are anchored by the healthy abutment teeth or by dental implants. Dr. Covell prefers porcelain and zirconia for the crowns and artificial teeth because these materials closely mimic the translucence and light reflection of natural tooth enamel. They are also incredibly strong and durable.
A Dental Bridge can be used to:
- Restore an attractive smile
- Reduce the risk of gum disease
- Restore the ability to bite and chew
- Improve speech
- Prevent remaining teeth from drifting out of position
Who is a candidate for Dental Bridges?
If you’re missing a tooth or a couple teeth, you’re a candidate for having Dr. Covell place a dental bridge to replace them. It’s tempting to put off replacing a missing tooth, particularly if it’s a molar that isn’t readily visible. But that’s a bad idea for a variety of reasons. First, teeth stay put due to the pressure placed on them by neighboring teeth. When a tooth is missing, the adjacent teeth tend to slide over into the gap. This creates alignment and bite problems.
A dental bridge allows you to eat foods you may have been avoiding due to your missing teeth. It keeps your teeth in place and distributes the bite forces across more teeth. These restorations give our patients from Pasadena and the surrounding areas confidence in their new, complete smile.
What are the advantages of Bridges?
Bridges provide an excellent option for replacing a missing tooth or teeth. Patients shouldn’t leave gaps in their teeth. Replacement options are bridges or implants. Dental bridges are less expensive than dental implants initially. Also, they can be placed over a period of just two or three weeks. Dental implants are more expensive and require a staged process that takes six months or so. Implants do have the advantage, however, of usually lasting for the remainder of the patient’s life.
Types Of Dental Bridges
There are three main types of Bridges:
Also known as fixed bridges, traditional bridges are used to replace one or more missing teeth. The procedure involves creating a crown for the tooth or implant on either side of the missing tooth, with a pontic, or a false tooth, in between. Fixed bridges are the most common type of dental bridges and are either made out of porcelain fused to metal or out of ceramics.
Also known as Maryland-bonded bridges, resin-bonded bridges are primarily used for the front teeth. They are less expensive than fixed bridges and are best for use when the teeth are healthy and do not have any large fillings. During this procedure, a false tooth is fused with resin to metal bands which are then bonded to the adjacent teeth and hidden from view. Resin-bonded bridges require only minimal preparation of the adjacent teeth.
These bridges are used in areas of the mouth that are under minimal stress, such as the back teeth. Cantilever bridges are recommended when there are teeth on only one side of the open space.
The Dental Bridge Procedure
There are several steps that are taken in order to create a bridge:
The adjacent teeth must be prepared. This involves removing some of the enamel to allow room for the crown to be placed over them.
Impressions of the teeth are made. These will be sent to a laboratory so a bridge, a false tooth or pontic, and crowns can be created to fit the unique configuration of the patient’s mouth. During the 2 to 3 weeks while the bridge is being manufactured, the patient will be given a temporary dental bridge to protect the exposed teeth and gums.
During the next dental visit, the temporary bridge will be removed and replaced with the new, permanent bridge. The doctor will make sure the bridge fits properly and cement it to the teeth.
How long will it be from my first appointment until my Dental Bridge is placed?
These procedures take two appointments. The first appointment is to prepare the abutment teeth and take impressions that we send to the dental lab to create your bridge. Fabrication usually takes about 2 to 3 weeks. When we receive your new custom bridge, Dr. Covell places it in a short second appointment. The entire process from start to finish should take from 3 to 4 weeks.
Recovery After A Dental Bridge Placement
Replacing missing teeth should make eating easier, but until they get used to the bridge, patients are advised to eat soft food cut into small pieces. For a few weeks after receiving a bridge, it is common to experience increased sensitivity to extreme temperatures. Patients will also notice a difference in their speech which will become clearer with the permanent bridge in place.
How do I properly care for my Dental Bridge?
Cleaning the two crowns and the artificial porcelain teeth in between doesn’t require any special care, just normal brushing and flossing on the outside of the two crowns (and, of course, the rest of your teeth). It is important to also clean under the bridge. This can be done with a floss threader, which can be threaded under the bridge. You can also use an interdental brush, which can slide under the bridge to remove food particles and plaque. An oral irrigator, such as the Waterpik, can be used, as well. The goal of any of these methods is to remove any food debris, plaque, and bacteria on the gums under your bridge.
Are there any foods I need to avoid with a Dental Bridge?
There aren’t any specific restrictions when eating with a bridge, but some common sense can help your bridge last as long as possible. Eating overly hard foods on the side of your mouth with your bridge is risking breaking the restoration. The same is true of overly sticky foods such as caramels. It is possible to pull the bridge off the abutment teeth with these kinds of foods, although Dr. Covell can reattach it.
Beyond foods, it’s a good idea to get rid of certain bad habits that impact your teeth, not to mention a bridge. Chewing your fingernails, opening bottles with your teeth, and chewing ice should all be things that you used to do.
Results Of A Dental Bridge Placement
With good oral hygiene, a dental bridge will last from 5 to 15 years, sometimes longer. Patients must remember to practice proper care of their teeth and gums to prevent the build-up of bacteria and the formation of plaque. Regular dental visits and cleanings will still be required.
How long will my Dental Bridges last?
Dental bridges have a varying lifespan from five to 15 years, but they can last longer. The health of the abutment teeth is usually the determinant. With good home hygiene, bridges can last a long time. As mentioned above, it’s important to clean under your bridge to keep your gums healthy. Most of our patients can expect to get at least a decade out of their bridge.