Many people are missing at least one tooth — 178 million Americans, to be exact. Often a person missing a tooth may opt to not replace it, but this can create havoc with your smile down the road. At Ridgeview Family Dental, we often use dental bridges to replace a missing tooth or teeth, to give you back a beautiful, complete smile.
What is a dental bridge?
As the name implies, this dental prosthetic “bridges” the gap created by one or more missing teeth. The bridge is usually a single piece consisting of two crowns and a false tooth or teeth in between. The crowns serve as anchors and are placed on the healthy teeth on each side of the gap. At Ridgeview, we use porcelain for our crowns and the false teeth in our bridges. We trust the strength of porcelain, and like its remarkable resemblance to natural tooth enamel.
Dangers of Not Replacing Missing Teeth
Your teeth stay in place in your mouth due to the pressure they receive from the adjacent teeth. When a tooth is missing the teeth on both sides of the gap tend to slide over into the open space. This messes up the alignment of your teeth and can affect your bite. Also, missing teeth lead to deterioration of the jawbone and gum tissue beneath the empty space.
Benefits of Dental Bridges
Here are some of the benefits for considering a dental bridge to correct missing teeth:
- Replace a missing tooth or teeth
- Prevent the adjacent teeth from sliding into the gap
- Restore chewing and biting capability
- Distribute bite forces properly across various teeth
- Restore speaking diction
- Maintain the shape of your face
- Complete your smile
The Dental Bridge Procedure
Once we jointly decide a bridge is your best solution for replacing a missing tooth or teeth, the placement of the bridge takes two appointments. During your first appointment, our dentists at either our Warrensburg, Oak Grove or Windsor location will prepare the teeth adjacent to the space for crowns. Impressions of the prepared teeth are then taken and sent to the dental lab for the fabrication of your bridge. We also use these impressions to create a temporary bridge in our office that we place while your permanent bridge is being created.
When your bridge is finished, a process that usually takes around two weeks, you return to our office for your second appointment. The Dr. Young or Dr. Weststeyn will first test the fit and the color match of the dental bridge with your adjacent teeth. The bridge is adjusted as needed to make sure your bite feels right. In some cases, he may place your bridge with temporary cement so that you can “take it for a test drive” for a couple days at home. Either way, once you and the dentist are satisfied with the fit, your bridge is permanently cemented onto the abutment teeth.
Is it painful to get a bridge?
Local anesthetic is used , as when having a simple filling placed, when preparing the adjacent teeth for their crowns. Otherwise, there isn’t any pain with the procedure.
How Do I Care for a bridge?
Maintaining optimal dental hygiene is the most effective way to protect your new dental bridge. Dr. Young and Dr. Weststeyn will discuss with you the importance of brushing and flossing daily to not only protect your new bridges but also maintaining the health of all teeth. It is also important to maintain a regular cleaning schedule to help diagnose problems at an early stage. A balanced diet with proper nutrition will also help prevent the onset of any future dental problems.
How long will my Dental bridge last?
Bridges can last anywhere from five to 15 years, but often even longer. Their lifespan can be dependent on the health of the abutment teeth and your other natural teeth as well as your home care.
Dental Bridges vs. Dental Implants
A dental bridge is a great way to bridge the gap of a missing tooth. This treatment does not involve the replacement of the tooth root, but is more so a place holder for the missing tooth. A dental implant is an artificial tooth root anchored in place of the missing tooth. At Ridgeview Family Dental, we feel that dental implants are, in most cases, the best option for replacing a missing tooth as it does not involve any treatment of the adjacent teeth. Visit our Implant page for more information on Implant procedures.
Schedule An Appointment
We would love to discuss your options to replace missing teeth! Contact our office at 660-747-9117 to schedule a consultation. We have offices located in Warrensburg, Oak Grove and Windsor and serve nearby cities including Valley, Odessa, and Bates City.