Restore Your Smile With Fixed Dental Bridges
At Chapko & Shah Modern Dentistry, we understand the importance of a complete and healthy smile. If you have multiple missing teeth and you’re looking for a long-lasting replacement, fixed dental bridges can be the solution you need to bridge the gap and regain your confidence.
In this comprehensive guide, our Belvidere, IL, dentists explain dental bridges, including the various types available and how they can help transform your smile. Contact our dental team today to schedule your appointment by calling (815) 544-5144.
What Are Fixed Dental Bridges?
Fixed dental bridges are prosthetic devices used to replace one or more missing teeth by spanning the gap between adjacent teeth or dental implants. They consist of artificial teeth (pontics) held in place by dental crowns, known as abutments, which are attached to the neighboring natural teeth or implants. As the name implies, fixed dental bridges can’t be removed except by a trained dental professional.
Different Types of Fixed Dental Bridges
Traditional Dental Bridges
Traditional dental bridges are the most common type, consisting of one or more pontics held in place by dental crowns on the adjacent natural teeth. They’re ideal when there are strong, healthy teeth on either side of the gap.
Cantilever Dental Bridges
Cantilever dental bridges are used when there’s only one adjacent tooth next to the gap. The pontic is supported by a single dental crown on the healthy tooth.
Maryland Dental Bridges (Resin-Bonded Bridges)
Maryland dental bridges use a metal or porcelain framework bonded to the back of adjacent teeth, eliminating the need for crowns. They’re a conservative option and work well for restoring front teeth.
Implant-supported bridges are anchored to dental implants that are surgically placed in the jawbone. They offer exceptional stability and are a suitable choice for multiple missing teeth or full arch restorations.
Benefits of Fixed Dental Bridges
As a dental restoration, fixed bridges offer various benefits, some of which include the following:
- Restored Functionality: Dental bridges allow for proper chewing and speaking, improving your ability to enjoy a wide variety of foods.
- Enhanced Appearance: Bridges fill the gaps left by missing teeth, maintaining your facial structure and creating a natural-looking smile.
- Improved Confidence: With a complete smile, you’ll feel more self-assured in social and professional settings.
- Preservation of Adjacent Teeth: Dental bridges help prevent adjacent teeth from shifting and becoming misaligned.
- Convenience: Unlike removable dentures, fixed bridges are secured in place, eliminating the need for adhesives or removal during cleaning.
- Affordable Restoration: Dental bridges are often a more affordable method for replacing multiple missing teeth in a row than singular dental implants.
The Fixed Dental Bridge Process
Before receiving your custom-made dental bridge, you’ll have a consultation with one of our talented Belvidere dentists. During your consultation, our restorative dentist will examine your oral health, review your medical history, and discuss your oral health goals with you. They’ll also inform you of all of your restorative options, so you can make a decision that’s best suited for you and offer sedation dentistry to fight any dental anxiety.
Designing Your Dental Bridges
Once you and our dentist have decided that dental bridges are right for you, we’ll take images and impressions of your teeth. These images and impressions will be sent to a dental laboratory where your custom-made bridge will be created. This typically takes around two weeks.
Before placement of a traditional dental bridge, we’ll thoroughly clean your teeth. Then, we’ll apply a local anesthetic to the area around the teeth that will serve as the anchors for your bridge. Our Belvidere dentist will shave down a small amount of enamel from the anchor teeth.
For an implant-supported bridge, they’ll follow the guidelines for implant placement, and make small incisions into your gums where the implants will be placed.
Dental Bridge Placement
Once your dental bridge is ready, you’ll come back to our Belvidere dental office for placement. Your bridge will be fitted, adjusted, and cemented into place during a subsequent appointment.
Adjustments and Follow-Up Appointments
Our dentist will ensure that your bridge fits comfortably and functions correctly. Additional adjustments may be made as needed.
Dental Bridge Aftercare
Maintaining your dental bridge is essential to ensure its longevity and the continued health of your smile. Follow these aftercare guidelines to ensure the longevity of your dental bridge restoration:
- Regular Oral Hygiene: Maintain excellent oral hygiene by brushing your teeth at least twice a day with a soft-bristle toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste. Pay special attention to the area around your bridge, ensuring you clean it thoroughly.
- Flossing: Use dental floss or interdental brushes to clean between the teeth and under the bridge. This helps remove food particles and plaque that can accumulate in hard-to-reach areas.
- Antimicrobial Mouthwash: Rinse with an antimicrobial or fluoride mouthwash as recommended by our dentist. This can help reduce bacteria and protect against gum disease.
- Avoid Chewing Hard Objects: Refrain from biting down on hard objects like ice, pens, or fingernails, as this can damage the bridge or the natural teeth supporting it.
- Balanced Diet: Maintain a balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains. Avoid excessive consumption of sugary or acidic foods and drinks, as they can lead to dental decay.
- Regular Dental Check-ups: Schedule and attend regular checkups and cleanings. Our dentists will monitor the condition of your bridge and the health of your supporting teeth and gums.
- Nightguards: If you tend to grind or clench your teeth at night, consider wearing a nightguard. Grinding can put excessive pressure on your bridge and natural teeth, leading to damage.
- Immediate Action for Issues: If you notice any issues with your bridge, such as loose crowns, discomfort, or changes in fit, contact your dentist promptly for evaluation and adjustments.
- Avoid Smoking: If you smoke, consider quitting or reducing your tobacco use, as smoking can stain the bridge and increase the risk of gum disease.
Frequently Asked Questions
Many dental insurance policies provide partial coverage for dental bridges when they’re deemed medically necessary, such as for restoring oral function. However, the extent of coverage, copayments, and deductibles can vary significantly, so it’s essential to check with your insurance provider to understand your plan’s coverage details and potential out-of-pocket expenses.
Dental bridges are cemented in place or anchored by dental implants, so they can only be removed by a dental professional. Do not try to remove your dental bridge yourself as this could damage your bridge, your teeth, or both.
With proper care and maintenance, dental bridges last around 15 years. To get the most out of your dental bridge restoration, maintain a proper oral hygiene routine, avoid behaviors that can damage the bridge, and visit your restorative dentist at least once every six months for checkups.
It’s generally not possible to whiten a dental bridge using traditional teeth whitening methods. Dental bridges are typically made from materials such as porcelain or ceramics, which are not responsive to teeth-whitening agents.