WHAT ARE BRIDGES
If you’re missing one or more teeth, you may notice a difference in chewing and speaking. Leaving open gaps in the teeth that have been removed for any reason can cause many complications such as shifting of the teeth that can affect bite alignment, sore inflamed gums from chewing in the open space, and TMJ (temporomandibular joint syndrome). Tooth Bone begins to deteriorate immediately upon extraction and teeth can begin to shift relatively quickly, so a bridge can be an important tool in keeping your smile healthy and in place.
Sometimes called a fixed partial denture, a bridge replaces missing teeth with artificial teeth and literally “bridges” the gap where one or more teeth used to be. Bridges can be made from gold, alloys, porcelain or a combination of these materials and are attached to surrounding teeth for support. Unlike a removable bridge, which you can take out and clean, a fixed bridge can only be removed by a dentist. An implant bridge attaches artificial teeth directly to the jaw or under the gum tissue.
Depending on which type of bridge our dental team suggests, its success depends on the foundation; therefore, it’s very important to keep your remaining teeth healthy and strong. Bridges are important for those who desire to improve the look of their smile and for overall oral health.
WHY DO I NEED BRIDGES
Here are some symptoms that indicate you might need a bridge:
1) Broken or Loss Tooth Due to Cavities: If you do not visit your dentist regularly, you might find that there are cavities that could have been prevented. If cavities become too large, they can lead to infections in the teeth that can cause severe pain or enough damage that the tooth breaks off or completely comes out of the mouth. A bridge can help cover the gap which occurs when your tooth comes out or is extracted as a result of not properly caring for the teeth.
2) Bleeding Gums: Swollen, tender, or bleeding gums can be a sign of periodontitis. If the condition isn’t treated with proper brushing and flossing, you might experience tooth loss. Also, untreated periodontitis can also affect the bone in the jaw, which could result in cracking or the loss of some of the bone. This is an ideal situation where a bridge is needed as the bridge will provide support for the other teeth in that area of the mouth.
3) Tooth Pain: Tooth pain is one of the signs that decay has made its way to the nerve. The pressure from an infection can build to the point that there is an abscess. If there is sufficient damage to the tooth, extraction of the tooth may be needed if there is enough damage to the tooth. Once the tooth is removed, then a bridge can be placed. It’s important to monitor the teeth that are in the same area of the mouth to determine if the infection spread.
BENEFITS OF BRIDGES
Great Looks (aesthetics)
In a traditional fixed bridge, not only can you fill the space of the missing tooth, you can improve the color and the shape of the teeth that you are crowning either side. This gives the dentist a little more space to play with and allows a bit of flexibility in creating a desirable result. Porcelain looks great, matches the natural teeth exceptionally well and is very resistant to staining.
Permanent - No Removal Needed
A bridge is fixed in your mouth - you don't have to worry about taking it out to clean it like a partial denture. It is very important that you take care of your bridge and follow the special cleaning advice for bridges.
If teeth on either side are heavily filled or broken down, then crowning them as part of the bridge will actually helping to strengthen the weakened teeth and replace your missing tooth at the same time.
Studies have shown that fixed dental bridges, like individual crowns, are very durable and last a considerable length of time. Should you opt for a resin-retained or bonded bridge, it would not be expected to last as long as another type of bridge.
Relatively Quick Procedure
A bridge, in general, takes only a little longer than a single crown procedure (depending on the size and type of the bridge). Once you and your dentist have decided to move forward with a fixed bridge, then it normally only takes two appointments to start and complete the procedure. A fixed bridge is a much quicker procedure than having an implant or even a partial denture.
Less Invasive Than Implants
Implants require one or more surgical procedures to place the implant(s). You may also require bone grafting if you have insufficient natural bone available. For anyone who is unable to undergo implant surgery for medical reasons, a dental bridge is a great fixed alternative.