If you are missing one or more teeth, a dental bridge is an effective restorative dentistry procedure to replace them. It is a permanent oral appliance that will replace missing teeth to restore both aesthetics and functionality to your smile. Dr. Paul Bowersox and his team offer several types of dental bridges to accommodate every patient’s needs. The process to receive a dental bridge in Westminster, MD will require two office visits. Dr. Bowersox will first examine your smile to see if it is the right solution for you.
Why Replacing your Teeth is Important
When you are missing one or more teeth, it throws off your bite pattern. This can affect the way you chew and speak. This can also cause additional strain on your facial muscles and can lead to even more dental issues like worn-down teeth or jaw pain. Missing teeth also make you more likely to suffer from gum disease, additional tooth loss, and tooth decay. Not to mention many people find it embarrassing to have missing teeth. Replacing those teeth can improve self-confidence which can have a positive impact on your social and professional life.
We want to help you avoid these dental concerns by providing timely solutions for tooth replacement, like a dental bridge. As your trusted restorative dentist in Westminster, MD, Dr. Bowersox can provide a customized dental bridge that replaces your missing teeth and revitalizes your dental health.
What is a Dental Bridge?
A dental bridge is a permanent oral appliance that literally bridges the gap in your smile. It is secured to two remaining teeth (referred to as the abutment teeth or the anchor teeth) or dental implants that are located on both sides of the gap. The dental bridge includes the prosthetic tooth (or teeth) as well as the dental crowns, which are used to secure it in place. Prosthetic teeth in a bridge are called pontics.
What are the Benefits of a Dental Bridge?
There are many benefits to choosing a dental bridge to replace your missing teeth. They are an effective solution to improve the appearance of a smile and help restore function. Patients can speak properly again and chew their food efficiently. A bridge will help prevent remaining teeth from shifting out of place and hold the natural shape of the face.
Getting a Dental Bridge in Westminster, MD
Replacing a missing tooth (or a few missing teeth) with a dental bridge is a multi-step process. Dr. Bowersox will first examine your teeth to assess the current state of your oral health. He may need to take X-rays as well to determine your needs and the size of dental bridge.
During your first visit, your dentist will prepare the abutment teeth. Dr. Bowersox will numb the area around your teeth for your comfort. To prepare the teeth that will anchor the dental bridge, the dentist will need to reduce these teeth in size to create room for the crown portion of the bridge.
Once these teeth are prepared, we will take impressions and use them to fabricate your permanent dental bridge and your temporary bridge. We will create and place a temporary bridge which you will wear until your permanent one is ready. A dental lab will fabricate your permanent dental bridge.
In about 2 to 3 weeks, we will remove the temporary bridge and secure the custom permanent bridge. Dr. Bowersox will bond the crown portion of the bridge to the prepared abutment teeth and ensure a proper fit. This is a fixed dental restoration that can only your dentist can remove.
What is an Implant Supported Bridge?
An implant supported dental bridge is much different than a traditional fixed bridge. It can replace several consecutively missing teeth. Instead of the dental bridge being bonded to prepared abutment teeth, your dentist will secure it to dental implants that are inserted into the jaw bone. The process to receive an implant supported bridge is very different. It requires surgical placement of the dental implants and several months of healing time. While a regular bridge can be placed in a less than a month, an implant supported bridge will take several months. However, it offers many more benefits than a traditional fixed bridge.
- Stronger and More Stable: The bridge is anchored to implants that are fused to bone making it more stable and stronger. This allows patients to chew a greater variety of food and offers better speaking abilities.
- Preserves Natural Teeth: Since natural, adjacent teeth are not required to anchor the bridge, your healthy teeth do not need to be modified or damaged in any way. Preparing abutment teeth for a traditional bridge makes them more susceptible to decay and damage.
- Prevents Bone Loss in the Jaw: Dental implants are the only missing teeth solution to prevent bone loss. The implants are inserted into the jaw bone acting as missing teeth roots and provide stimulation for the jawbone. This will prevent bone loss and and help maintain the natural face structure.
- Long Term Solution: Dental implants can last a lifetime if they are cared for properly. Proper maintenance will help your implant supported bridge last for many years, even decades.
Dental Bridge FAQs
A dental bridge can help restore the appearance and functionality of your smile. If you any questions or concerns about what to expect during the procedure or the aftercare, we are here to help you. Please read through our frequently asked questions section or reach out to us during regular business hours if you still have questions. Here are some common questions regarding dental bridges:
What is the difference between a dental bridge and a dental implant?
A dental implant is surgically fused into your jawbone while a dental bridge only uses the exterior support of surrounding teeth to hold itself in place. While dental implants require less dietary restrictions than dental bridges, they also take a longer amount of time to heal because of the surgical component.
How should I care for my dental bridge?
You should brush and floss around your dental bridge to prevent any decay forming underneath the oral appliance. Dr. Bowersox can demonstrate how to care for your dental bridge after your dental bridge is in place. You’ll need to take extra care to floss underneath the bridge on a daily basis, as this is a common area that catches food and residue.
After getting a dental bridge, you may experience slight numbness in your mouth, gums, and tongue for a while. That’s because it takes time for the local anesthetic to stop working. For a few days to weeks after your surgery, you may also have some soreness, and your teeth may be more sensitive to cold and heat than usual.
Can food get stuck under a bridge?
It is possible for food to get stuck under a dental bridge. However, a properly fitted restoration should minimize this. It may also not fit well due to the negative effects of poor oral hygiene. If your dental bridge does not fit right, it can increase the amount of bacteria in your mouth and lead to issues with your gums such as periodontal disease.
How long will my dental bridge last?
With good oral hygiene habits and regular visits to the dentist for preventative care, your dental bridge can last anywhere from 10-15 years, and sometimes longer. The best way to prolong the life of your dental bridge is to avoid sticky or tough-on-teeth foods that put additional strain on them over time.
How long does it take for a dental bridge to settle?
The average period of adjustment time for a patient after getting a bridge is two weeks. However, this can vary from patient to patient. During this period, you may experience some discomfort or sensitivity as your mouth adjusts to the new bridge. After your dentist places your bridge, we suggest staying away from extreme temperatures, such as very hot or cold foods.