Teeth are indispensable when it comes to oral health. Neighboring teeth keep each other aligned which keeps your bite comfortable, they facilitate comfortable chewing and make speech clear and understandable. When teeth go missing it is vital to your oral health that you replace them in order to prevent further tooth loss and degradation of your quality of life.
What Is A Bridge?
A bridge is a dental appliance that “bridges” the gap where teeth are missing. Crafted to look just like your natural teeth would, lined up in a row, with the same contouring, coloration, and aesthetic as your natural teeth. A fixed bridge is a permanent dental fixture and can only be removed by a dental professional. As the name implies, a removable bridge is removable and must be taken out to eat and sleep.
Dental Bridge Options
Dental bridges come in two basic varieties – removable and fixed. Removable bridges are easier on the pocketbook but come with a variety of additional responsibilities.
With a removable bridge, you will need to take the appliance out to eat and sleep. These don’t solve the problem of the discomfort of eating without teeth. When you remove them at night for bed, it is necessary to separately clean your appliance and place it in a dental soaking solution.
Fixed bridges are permanent in your mouth and allow you to experience eating with fully functional teeth replacements. For a fixed bridge to be placed, we must use two teeth to anchor the appliance in place, one on either side of the gap left by the missing teeth. If two anchors aren’t present in your mouth in the form of teeth we can place a dental implant into your jaw that can act as an anchor point.
Why Do I Need A Dental Bridge?
When faced with tooth loss, your mouth can go through a lot of detrimental changes over a span of months or years. People tend to think of teeth as being firmly rooted in their individual sockets. The reality is, teeth rely very much on their neighbors to maintain their position and stability within your mouth. When a neighboring tooth is removed or lost the remaining teeth aren’t held up on that side and as a result, will tend to move into the gap.
When teeth are allowed to move in the mouth your bite can change. Your bite is the way your upper arch fits into your lower arch – ideally your bite fits together with no issue, in a comfortable way. If you lose some teeth and don’t replace them your bite can easily change. A change in your bite due to tooth loss can lead to many issues including:
- Cracked teeth
- Jaw pain
- TMJ (temporomandibular joint) issues
- Further tooth loss
Mainly, by replacing teeth when they are lost or removed, what you are doing is preventing further issues from arising. Issues will arise if you lose teeth and do not replace them and they will be costly and detrimental to your health, so it’s best to replace them as they are lost.
What is the Procedure Like?
Bridge reconstruction and placement is a standard procedure that we at Hunsaker Dental are happy to provide to our patients. Usually, it will require at least two visits to have a bridge placed.
The First Visit
During the first visit, we will take some impressions and make a mold of the teeth or the gap that we will be replacing or filling. We will send the mold and any measurements to our dental lab so that they can begin the process of crafting your bridge.
Once we are finished taking measurements we can begin the anchor tooth preparation. As mentioned before, a fixed bridge requires at least two healthy teeth to act as anchor points for the bridge. If there are no healthy anchor teeth or only one, we can place dental implants to act as anchors in your mouth. The placement of dental implants is an in-depth procedure that requires several months to complete.
To prepare the anchor teeth to receive the bridge, we will shave a layer of enamel off the teeth to give the bridge a suitably shaped tooth to fit over. We will then place a temporary bridge over the prepared teeth and set it in place with temporary dental cement so that it can be removed in several weeks when we have the permanent.
The Second Visit
During the second visit, we will remove the temporary bridge and place the permanent one on your anchor teeth. We will secure it to the anchor teeth using permanent dental adhesive will allow you to use your bridge as you would real teeth.