When you think of a bridge, you likely imagine a large engineered structure that allows people to walk or drive over an obstacle (such as a river, a road, or a ravine). Today we’re talking about a different sort of bridge: a dental bridge. Dental bridges are fixed prosthetic devices that dentists cement onto existing teeth or install using implants. Unlike the engineered structures, dental bridges are constructed for support. They allow the natural teeth or implants on either side of a gap to support false teeth that fill the gap. Your dentist can help you explore dental bridge benefits and determine if a bridge is the best fit for your missing tooth (or teeth).
Dental Bridge Benefits
A bridge can restore your smile.
A gap in your smile may make you feel self-conscious or unattractive. You may feel tempted to cover up your mouth when you laugh or to always smile with your mouth closed in pictures. You might worry what other people think of it, especially in certain situations (job interviews, first dates, etc.). By perfectly replicating your natural teeth, a bridge can restore your beautiful smile – and perhaps your confidence as well.
A bridge can prevent teeth from drifting and improve the alignment of your bite.
Gaps left by missing teeth sometimes cause the surrounding natural teeth to shift, which can result in a bad dental occlusion (bite). By offering support, bridges prevent the adjacent teeth from moving and forming a bad bite. In addition, by filling the gap with a false tooth, a bridge can ensure that the force of your bite is distributed properly.
A bridge can help maintain the shape of your face.
Your teeth don’t just help you chew; they also support other bone structures in your face as well as your skin and facial muscles. If you’re missing teeth, the supporting structures of your face may shift. This can change the shape of your face (especially your jaw), making your skin sag and your bones appear less defined.
A bridge can restore your ability to chew and speak properly.
Depending on which tooth or teeth you’ve lost, chewing can be quite difficult with a gap. Some teeth also have an impact on how you speak (the front teeth in particular), so you may have a lisp or another speech impediment due to your tooth loss. A bridge can remedy these issues, functioning just as a natural tooth would.
What to Expect from the Procedure
A dental bridge procedure typically requires two dental appointments.
At the first appointment, your dentist will examine your teeth to ensure that they’re good candidates for a supportive bridge. If the teeth are suitable, your dentist will begin filling them down to prepare them for crowns. Alternatively, if one or more of the teeth adjacent to the gap is severely damaged or broken, your dentist may need to fill it in to ensure it’s large enough to properly receive the bridge. After the teeth are filled down or filled to the proper shape, your dentist will take a scan of those teeth and the surrounding teeth so that a permanent bridge can be created.
But don’t worry – you won’t have to leave the appointment with your filed-down teeth exposed. Your dentist will create a temporary bridge right away and temporarily cement it in place. You will wear this bridge until your permanent bridge has been fabricated.
At the second appointment, the permanent bridge will be fastened to your natural teeth with permanent cement. This will ensure that the bridge is strong, sturdy, and won’t budge while you’re eating, talking, and going about your daily life.
Are you missing one or more teeth? We can help! If you’re looking for an experienced, reliable, and friendly dentist near Springfield, Missouri, contact Wilkinson Dental. Dr. Wilkinson and his team will give you the personalized treatment you deserve using state-of-the-art technology. For exceptional and comprehensive dental care, schedule your first appointment today by calling 417-708-0556 or requesting an appointment online. We look forward to hearing from you!