Restore Your Smile With Dental Bridges
When a patient has lost one or more teeth in a row, he has several methods of treatment available to restore his smile.
Many patients choose to restore their smiles with the help of a dental bridge. Dental bridges typically consist of one or more prosthetic teeth with a dental crown at each end.
The doctor places the crowns on prepared teeth or dental implants to restore the patient’s smile, literally bridging the gap left behind by the missing teeth. Dr. Scott Lee has years of experience with the placement of dental bridges, and will happily create and place one for you.
When Should I Choose a Dental Bridge?
If you have lost a tooth, or several teeth in a row, because of tooth decay, gum disease, or facial trauma, you will have an open gap left between the remaining teeth on either side. Over time, the teeth around this gap can rotate or shift into the empty space left by the missing teeth.
This shifting can result in an imbalanced bite, which in turn can lead to TMJ disorder or gum disease. By placing a dental bridge before the teeth have a chance to rotate, Dr. Lee can prevent these problems and restore your smile to its original beauty.
Losing teeth can also lead to the degradation of your jawbone. Your body can sense when you have lost a tooth, because the bone in that area of the jaw no longer has any stimulation. The body begins to divert calcium and other nutrients it used to send to the tooth to other parts of the body.
The lack of nutrients causes the bone of your jaw to start shrinking, which can eventually cause your face to have a sunken appearance. In this case, Dr. Lee can place a bridge supported by dental implants to help stimulate that bone, keeping your face looking healthy.
The Composition of Dental Bridges
A dental bridge will typically consist of one or more prosthetic teeth, called pontics, surrounded on either side by dental crowns called abutments that serve to hold the teeth in place in your mouth.
Patients can choose to have their pontics made from one of several materials, including gold or metal alloys, but most tend to choose porcelain or porcelain-fused-to-metal for their pontics. The doctor can tint the porcelain used to fabricate the pontics to match the color of your natural teeth.
The crowns fit over the teeth on either side of the gap, called abutment teeth. Dr. Lee will prepare the abutment teeth by removing a small portion of the surface of each tooth. Some patients may choose to have the crowns attached to dental implants that the doctor surgically places in their jawbone. Implants provide extra stability and eliminate the need for removing the surface of abutment teeth.
Placing a Dental Bridge
The process of placing a dental bridge typically involves two visits to our office. When you arrive for your first visit, you will first consult with Dr. Lee. He will review your dental history and perform a thorough examination of your mouth to make sure no other work needs completing before placing the bridge.
The doctor will prepare the abutment teeth by removing a small amount of the enamel layer on each to make room for the crown. With the teeth prepared, he will then take impressions which will serve as a model to create your bridge.
He will send the model to a reputable offsite dental lab, where an experienced technician will begin fabricating your bridge. You will receive a temporary bridge to wear to protect the exposed teeth and gums while we create your permanent appliance.
When the lab completes your permanent bridge, you will return for a second visit. Dr. Lee will remove your temporary bridge and place the new one, checking for proper fit and making necessary adjustments. When satisfied with the fit, the doctor will bond the crowns to the prepared teeth with dental cement. With proper care and regular dental visits, your bridge should last over ten years.