While many people are particularly concerned about not being able to smile properly when missing a tooth, there are more serious problems that need to be addressed. These include discomfort in the jaw, pain when chewing food and changes in the way you bite.
Dentists offer several treatment options for a missing tooth. Depending on the severity of the case, dentists in Sunrise, FL may recommend dental implant or bridge, or temporary dentures.
A dental bridge not only solves the problem of a missing tooth but also addresses the gap that causes other teeth to become loose. A bridge involves a replacement tooth to fill the gap left by the missing tooth.
Types of Dental Bridges
Your dentist will advise you on which type of dental bridge will work for your condition.
- Traditional Bridges – The most common type of dental bridge is made up of at least one fake tooth, called a pontic, attached to abutments or dental crowns that have been cemented to the teeth next to it. This type is used when the missing tooth is between natural teeth.
- Cantilever Bridges – This is similar to the traditional one except that it has a one-sided pontic support abutment for the missing tooth. This bridge needs only one healthy natural tooth on either side of the gap. Since this bridge is supported only by one abutment, complications might occur later, such as a loosened crown or fractured teeth.
- Maryland Bridges – This is a conservative bridge that uses a pontic anchored to a porcelain or metal framework. The framework is attached to the lost tooth’s two adjacent teeth. The bridge does not use crowns, which eliminates the need to file the next teeth.
- Implant-Supported Bridges – This is an ideal option with multiple missing teeth. Since it does not use crowns, the bridge instead uses dental implants for support. This type has two of these crowns with a pontic placed in between them. It is very secure and comfortable.
Placement of Dental Bridges
Preparing for a dental bridge procedure includes recontouring the teeth by removing portions of the enamel to give room for the dental crown. Impressions of the teeth are also made so that the dentist will have an accurate model for making the bridge, the pontic and the crowns. You will be fitted with a temporary bridge to protect the exposed teeth and gums.
The temporary bridge will be removed during your next visit to the dentist. When the actual bridge is placed, your dentist will have it checked and adjusted to achieve a perfect fit. One visit may not be enough to check and adjust the fit of the metal framework and bite. If your dentist will be installing a permanent bridge, he has to temporarily cement it in place and observe for a couple of weeks if it works properly.
Dental bridges have a lifespan of five to 15 years, at times longer. How long it lasts depends on how well you take care of them.