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When a Dental Bridge is Right For You

Whenever you think it might be time for some long-overdue dental work, it’s only natural to do a little research in order to learn which procedure is the most appropriate for your situation.

When it comes to replacing teeth, one of the most time-honored and reliable treatments remains the dental bridge.

But don’t let the fact that dental bridges are time-honored, make you think they’re antiquated or old-fashioned. As dental technology has advanced over the years, so to have the flexibility, longevity, and reliability of dental bridges. Today’s dental bridges can last for many years, while successfully replacing missing teeth virtually everywhere in your mouth.

The Good News: 

The good news is that virtually anyone missing either one to three teeth is a candidate for replacing them with a dental bridge. To support the bridge, your healthy surrounding teeth will serve as a structural foundation. This means that they need to be free of decay and gum disease. Once these two conditions are met, the teeth are crowned and ready for the bridge and pontic (replacement tooth) to be installed.

On the other hand, if you’re missing more than 3 teeth, something like a partial denture might be more appropriate.

If You’re Missing “More Than a Couple” Teeth

When you’re missing more than a few teeth, you might be a candidate for implant supported bridges. With implant supported bridges, the implant is installed directly into your jawbone, where the implant’s titanium gradually fuses with the bone. Because of this, while the teeth are being replaced, the underlying bone must still be healthy and strong. For most patients, this isn’t a problem. However, if you’ve experienced deep, untreated decay and infection for years – this option could be out of the picture.

However, even if you’ve experienced some bone degeneration, there is still a chance that an implant supported bridge is a possibility. For some patients, bone grafting procedures can provide the density necessary to create a strong implant foundation.

When a Dental Bridge Won’t Work

Bad periodontal support:  The very first requirement of a strong dental bridge is healthy natural teeth on either side. If the support for a dental bridge is poor, it could cause future issues. On top of this, if existing support for teeth is bad, the resulting bone degeneration over time (from having a prosthetic) could result in the bridge coming loose over time.

More than 3 missing teeth

It is often more affordable to replace multiple missing teeth with a partial denture. However, some patients prefer the more expensive option of multiple dental implants or multiple dental bridges.

Too Many Healthy teeth

Sometimes, having too many healthy teeth can be a problem. But only when you’re trying to install a bridge. Since a dental bridge uses adjacent teeth as supports, it’s always a shame to have to remove enamel and healthy structure from a perfectly good tooth in order to crown it for a dental bridge.  In these occasions, it’s generally preferable to use an implanted dental crown.

Dental Bridges: the How and Why

It’s only natural that your teeth are important to you. It’s also natural to want to replace a tooth as quickly as possible in the event you’re missing one. One of the most popular solutions for replacing missing teeth is the dental bridge.

At Cypress DDS, we’re Cypress, CA’s dental bridge experts. For years, our cosmetic and restorative dentists have put their skills to the test in order to help our patients restore confidence in their smiles, while simultaneously helping to restore functionality to their teeth. Fortunately, dental bridges help us accomplish both.

What is a Dental Bridge?

It might not surprise you, but a dental bridge is actually a lot like a bridge you would use to traverse a gap in the landscape. Except, in this case, the landscape is your smile and the bridge is a dental appliance (not a series of girders and supports). However, the concept is still the same.

One one of your teeth is missing, a dental bridge is used to replace it. In doing so, your dentist uses the adjacent healthy teeth as supports. These teeth are given crowns as additional reinforcement and support. Just like a bridge over a body of water, this is done to help spread the pressure and weight across the entire structure – rather than place it all on the bridge itself.

In your mouth, once the supports for the bridge have been created with crowns, your dentist installs a pontic. The pontic is an artificial tooth which is installed between the crowns and matched to your existing teeth in order to fill-in the space. As dental technology and the materials available have become better and better, dental bridges have also become stronger and more life-like. In many cases, friends and family alike won’t be able to tell you’ve had a replacement tooth installed at all.

Why Replacing a Missing Tooth is About More than Just “Looking Good”

Many patients don’t realize that getting a dental bridge is about more than just improving the look of your smile. In fact, filling the gaps made by missing teeth is actually an important step your dentist will encourage you to take for the good of your long-term oral health.

Dental bridges are about more than just appearance because the gaps they’re filling can make a very real impact in the balance of your bite.  Because the missing tooth is no longer there to help support the teeth adjacent to it,  losing a tooth can gradually cause your remaining teeth to fall out of alignment. This not only impacts your ability to eat, but it will also impact your ability to speak. By installing a dental bridge and filling the gap between your teeth, you ensure that your entire smile maintains its proper shape.

Do you have questions about dental bridges? The dental team at Cypress DDS is here to help. If you’re a patient in the Cypress area, schedule a free consultation today. To learn more, come back to visit our blog often.