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Bridge Out Ahead: Avoiding the Common Pitfalls of Dental Bridges

Since as far back as 200AD, dental bridges have been used to fill the void left by a missing tooth (or group of teeth). Fast forward to the 18th century, and even the famous patriot, Paul Revere was familiar with the dental bridge. In fact, during his life – Mr. Revere even placed advertisements in a local Boston newspaper, informing his neighbors of his very own dental practice.

Fortunately for the patients, the vetting process for dentists has become quite a bit more selective. But in his experience as a dentist, even Revere was familiar enough with the dental bridge to be able to identify a friend’s body by the bridge that he himself constructed.

This brief bit of history goes to show that dental bridges have been time tested, and they’ve continued to get better and better as the years have passed. Today, a modern dental bridge is often indistinguishable from a natural tooth, and their stability and strength allow patients of all ages to use their restored teeth almost as if they were their natural teeth.

But there are some pitfalls when it comes to dental bridgework.

the Most Common Disadvantages of Having a Dental Bridge

They are “Destructive”

Dental bridgework relies on the teeth on either side of a missing tooth as support. Unfortunately, if those teeth are completely natural and healthy – preparing them for the bridge can be damaging. This is because, in order to make enough room for the bridge, the teeth need to be filed down.

There is one situation where this is actually positive. If the teeth in question have already been damaged or have had multiple fillings, this step will actually play an important role by protecting those teeth in the future.

They Can Get Expensive

Not only can dental crowns add up (and bridgework typically requires two crowns), but dental bridges tend to last between 5 and 8 years.

For this reason, if the supporting teeth are healthy and only one tooth needs to be replaced – dentists often recommend dental implants. While a dental implant can cost more at the outset, a dental implant will last as long as a natural tooth, doesn’t damage the teeth on either side, and makes oral care easier — all factors that can help save money in the long run.

They Can Damage Your Nerves

When your dentist prepares your teeth for the crowns used to support your future dental bridge, there’s a small chance (roughly 1-15%) that the nerve in the tooth could die, which ultimately could require future root canal treatment. If you’re at a particular risk for this, your dentist may recommend performing a root canal before bridgework is completed.

The Appointment Can Be Long

Despite being one procedure that can replace a missing tooth in just 2 visits (compared to an implant, which will require repeat visits to the dentist’s office over the course of about a year before the tooth is fully complete.) The procedure for installing a bridge takes quite some time. Your first appointment will usually take between 1 and 3 hours. While the second appointment, when your bridge is installed permanently, typically takes about one hour.

They are Harder to Clean (When Compared to Implants)

With dental bridges, a bit of extra care is needed when it comes to cleaning. Since the underside of your dental bridge isn’t a part of your jaw, you will need to clean under your bridgework using a special tool known as a bridge threader. Because of this added difficulty, patients sometimes opt for the easier-to-clean dental implant, which can be treated just like a natural tooth.

How to Know When It’s a Dental Emergency

WHAM!

               CRACK!

                                CRUNCH!

No, unfortunately you’re not reading a comic book. But if you combine your teeth with any of the onomatopoeia (noun: the formation of a word from a sound associated with what is named) above, there’s a good chance you might be wondering, “Who’s a dentist near me” and “Should I call them to take a look at this?”

Dental emergencies come in all shapes and sizes. Fortunately, some simply seem scarier due to the amount of sheer stress generated when  the CRUNCH or CRACK! that you feel (and hear)  is the result of one of your teeth taking the brunt of the impact during a collision on the sports field or after a nasty fall. But it’s not always easy to know when you need emergency dental care.

So, without further ado: some simple guidelines.

When You Need Immediate Dental Care

The most important thing to remember when it comes to dental emergencies is the fact that no list of  symptoms is comprehensive. If you’re experiencing an issue that isn’t discussed in this article, please don’t hesitate to contact us at your earliest convenience.

  • Excessive bleeding that doesn’t want to stop: If your mouth is bleeding severely, you need to be seen be either your dentist or the emergency room as soon as possible. In many cases, your dentist will recommend you visit an emergency room first.
  • Pus in your mouth: If a sore or injury in your mouth ever begins to emit pus, you should contact your dentist immediately. Pus is a sign of definite infection that your body is having a hard time correcting on its own. Dental intervention such as a root canal treatment is likely.
  • Swelling in your mouth or gums: Swelling can be dangerous, especially when its in your mouth. If swelling isn’t addressed, it can quickly (or gradually) begin to restrict your airway. If your swelling doesn’t appear to be related to any of your teeth or gums, a visit to the emergency room is in order.
  • Traumatic dental injuries:  Here, it is important to remember that “trauma” is objective. While even the smallest chip can seem traumatic to some patients, a traumatic dental injury typically involves a tooth that’s been completely knocked out, cracked, or broken.
  • Infection with a Fever: If you have what appears to be a dental infection accompanied by a fever, you should seek immediate medical care as soon as possible. Generally, an emergency doctor should be seen first to take care of the fever. Following this, your dentist will want to address the underlying cause by locating and treating the infection.

It’s What’s Inside That Matters

Contrary to popular belief, most chipped teeth aren’t dental emergencies. In fact, the difference between a chipped tooth that’s an emergency and one that can wait until you can call your dentist during regular office hours is pretty simple, that difference lies in whether or not your tooth’s “insides” are exposed. If your tooth’s dental pulp is exposed, you should contact your dentist ASAP to prevent infection and other damage. In most cases (and depending on the severity) your dentist will recommend either a porcelain veneer, dental bonding, or a dental crown.

Having an emergency right now? 

Cypress DDS brings together the best dentists in Cypress, CA to offer patients the highest level of care when they need it the most.  If you have questions, concerns, or you’ve just experienced your own dental emergency – we’re here to help.

3 Common Questions Answered About Your Teeth

This week is national teacher appreciation week.  Given the topic of today’s blog, that simple fact is particularly relevant to the fact that, many times, good teeth are the result of good teaching.

One of the most common roles we find ourselves in as dental care professionals is that of the teacher. Without good teachers, our children are hopeless. Similarly, without good dental education, it’s no stretch to say our teeth are hopeless, too.  But that’s where your nearest family dentist comes in, to answer the questions you have about teeth to ensure you have healthy teeth for years to come.  So let’s start with a few of the most common questions we get from both patients looking  for a new family dentist in Cypress, CA and existing patients alike.

When should I take my child to the dentist?

Most dentists recommend that your child should see the family dentist around the age of one, or about 6 months after his or her first tooth has come in. Don’t think that just because your baby has “no teeth” they don’t need to see the dentist. Establishing comfort with the dentist early on, and ensuring everything is “coming in” properly can pay long-term dividends when it comes to a long life of healthy teeth.

Do I need Fluoride?

Fluoride is an important mineral that is actually found in a number of foods, as well as in your water. Naturally, fluoride can be found in tea, fish, spinach, cooked kale, skim milk, and apples. On top of this, many municipalities add fluoride to water supplies, giving residents access to vital fluoride from simple tap-water. Fluoride in tap-water is a primary contributor to teeth that are stronger and healthier in the long-term, and fluoride deficiency has been identified as a contributor to cavities and decay.

Fluoride’s primary function is help your tooth’s enamel protect itself against decay by strengthening the enamel against acid and plaque.

Who can get their teeth whitened?

Many patients often wonder if age is a factor when it comes to teeth whitening. The answer? Sort of. After about age 10 or older, most of a patients permanent front teeth will be fully erupted. While it’s generally not “worth it” to bleach a discolored baby tooth, it’s incredibly common for patients young and old to bleach their teeth once most of the front teeth are “here to stay”. The reason is simple: why deal with silly nicknames for darkened teeth when they can be taken care of quickly and inexpensively?

If a young patient is self conscious about a tooth’s discoloration, the solution is incredibly simple and likely only required a short whitening session in our dentist’s chair.

Do you have a question? We’re a dental office in the Cypress, CA area focused on delivering the highest level of care to our patients. To us, that starts with questions answered. Feel free to ask your own below, or contact us today to schedule your first visit.

5 Reasons Your Dentist May Recommend a Dental Bridge vs a Dental Implant

Picture your face and your smile as they would appear in an ideal world.  Now, picture your smile with a big piece missing.

When we’re missing a tooth, it’s hard to ignore. It’s only natural for a patient (of any age) to want to replace it. Fortunately, that’s where we have options. While the two most common options, dental bridges and dental implants, have a variety of advantages and disadvantages, today we’re going to discuss the dental bridge – and which situations it might be preferable when compared to a dental implant.

There isn’t enough space for a dental implant

Sometimes, a dental implant won’t work simply because there isn’t enough space to fit one. For some patients, missing a tooth for an extended period of time causes the adjacent teeth on either side to shift in place. If the adjacent teeth are allowed to shift too much, it can cause the gap to grow small enough that the implant post and prosthetic simply won’t fit without having to make more extensive adjustments. While a bridge can often be used instead, your dentist might also recommend orthodontic treatment to widen the gap and make the space suitable for a dental implant instead.

When Time is of the Essence

If time is of the essence and you need to fill the gap in your teeth quickly, a dental bridge will always be the fastest choice. Dental bridgework can be prepared and installed in as little as two visits to your family dental office.

When Surgery Isn’t an Option

Some patients simply don’t want to get the surgery required for dental implants, which can sometimes seem uncomfortable or invasive. Compared to implants, dental bridgework requires very little and is complete very quickly, improving your smile in virtually no-time.

The Question of Cost

When cost is important, and the teeth adjacent to the missing tooth would benefit from the bridge preparation, dental bridgework is an ideal solution. For an immediate fix, bridgework is much more affordable than dental implants. On top of this, while patients can expect to get at least 5 and 8 years out of a traditional bridge, many patients find that proper care and diligence can lead to a dental bridge that lasts for many, many years.

In addition to dental bridges involving a lower up-front cost than dental implants – it is also often recommended because dental insurance providers often cover dental bridgework, but not implants.

Questions? Get the answers you need. In our family dental office in Cypress, we provide support for patients needing dental bridges virtually every day. To learn more, schedule a consultation or contact us today.