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Downtown Dental Excellence offers Dental Bridges in Cleveland, TX

Gaps between teeth can be a serious danger to your oral health. While you may think of a gap as simply being a cosmetic issue, it is actually a serious oral health issue that needs to be resolved as soon as possible. While when you have a tooth pulled you’ll likely speak with your dentist about tooth replacement options, if a tooth is knocked out or falls out, you may not be as quick to take action. This is a serious mistake!

When it comes time to fill the gap between your teeth, you’ll have a few different options. One of these options is a dental bridge.

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A dentist / dental technician placing the fixed partial denture ( the dental bridge)

What is a Dental Bridge?

A dental bridge is a dental appliance that helps to fill a gap between teeth. These dental bridges can bridge a gap spanning one or more missing teeth. The appliance is made up of a pontic (false tooth or set of teeth) that is held in place with at least one crown (abutment). The crown is placed by reshaping healthy teeth, and installing the abutments on top of the healthy teeth.

Why Would I need a Dental Bridge?

Dental bridges are important for filling a gap because of the oral health risks that result from not taking action to fill the gap. An unfilled gap where a tooth used to be can encourage the growth of bacteria, and can affect the gums. This can lead to gum disease.

Having a gap between your teeth can also lead to your teeth migrating. This migration can cause healthy teeth to press against other healthy teeth, and can also make it harder to brush and floss. A gap that is not filled can also lead to bone loss in the jawbone. Not only is this unhealthy, but it also causes cosmetic changes in the structure of the face. Finally, having a gap in the teeth can affect your bite—making it harder to eat your favorite foods, and harder to chew.

Dental bridges help patients to avoid these oral health issues, and keep their healthy teeth in place.

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Types of Dental Bridges

While most people have a traditional dental bridge placed, there are actually different options for dental bridges. These include: traditional, Maryland and cantilever.

Traditional dental bridges involve two abutments (crowns) on either side of the gap, that are installed on top of healthy teeth. A pontic runs from one crown to the other, covering the length of one or more missing teeth to fill the gap.

Maryland bridges are bonded to healthy teeth, which allows the patient to avoid the reshaping process needed for traditional bridges. Instead, metal or porcelain frames are placed to hold the bridge in place.

Cantilever bridges are like traditional bridges, except instead of having two abutments, they only have one. This type of bridge still requires the reshaping of a tooth, and the crown still holds the pontic in place.

Which type of dental bridge you end up with depends on your specific needs, and the recommendations of your dentist.

How are Dental Bridges Placed?

The first step of having a dental bridge placed is visiting the dentist to discuss your options. Once the decision to install a dental bridge is made, the dentist will begin working on reshaping the teeth (if a traditional or cantilever bridge is chosen). Your dentist will then make an impression of your teeth, and send the impression out to have your bridge created. When the bridge arrives at your dentist’s office, they will set an appointment for you to come in and check the fit of the bridge. If everything fits properly, and the bridge matches your surrounding teeth, your dentist will cement the bridge in place.

If for some reason the bridge does not fit properly, or does not adequately match the surrounding teeth, your dentist will take the steps necessary to replace the bridge with one that better fits your mouth.

Do I Have Other Options?

While bridges are an excellent option for replacing missing teeth, there are other options available.

One option is dentures—either full or partial. These are usually the last option that is considered, though, as their functionality is more limited than other options.
One of the most popular tooth replacement options is dental implants. These are popular because they allow for a strong bite, help to maintain the integrity of the jaw and generally last longer than dental bridges. Implants may not be an option, though, as they require the patient’s jawbone to be strong enough to support the implant that keeps the false tooth in place. Implants are also more expensive upfront, which keeps some patients from choosing to go with them.

Aftercare

It’s extremely important to take good care of your oral health after a bridge is placed. Keep in mind that—while a pontic is made of false teeth—the teeth under the crowns are still your natural teeth. This means—if they aren’t properly cared for—they will suffer from decay and may need to be extracted.

It’s also important to pay attention to how well you are cleaning around the bridge. Make sure that the gums below the bridge are being properly care for, as well as the surrounding teeth. This includes brushing, flossing and rinsing out your mouth at least twice a day.

How Long Will My Dental Bridge Last?

While bridges are an excellent solution to filling a gap where one or more teeth are missing, they don’t last forever. Most bridges last around five to ten years—sometimes longer if they are properly cared for. Keep this in mind if you are given the choice between an implant or a dental bridge, as implants will generally last longer.

Still, having a bridge replaced is a simple procedure, and having a bridge placed is more inexpensive than implants upfront.

Call Downtown Dental Excellence Today! (281) 592-0597

Choosing a Dental Bridge

If you are missing one or more teeth, speak with your dentist about having a bridge placed as soon as possible.