Sometimes, even with careful consideration of our gums and teeth, a tooth may fall out. Though often it can be saved if brought to us immediately after extraction, what happens if you can not find the tooth or it is destroyed? Fortunately, there are methods of handling a lost tooth that does not have to compromise your confidence and Beautiful Smiles knows that through the use of a bridge, you can effectively restore your smile.
A dental bridge is used to replace a single or multiple missing teeth. In general, there are three variations of bridge, a traditional bridge, a Maryland bridge, and a Cantilever bridge. We will discuss your options with you and help you make a decision on the best option for your situation. A bridge can be placed using natural teeth or a dental implant as an anchor.
Types of Bridges
A dental bridge comprises dental crowns or teeth that anchor the bridge, and a replacement tooth or teeth between them. The three main types of bridges are:
These are the most popular kinds of bridges. Traditional bridges are used when you have natural teeth on both sides of your gap. The gap is covered by artificial teeth, known as pontics. The downside of a traditional bridge is that it requires us to prepare your adjacent natural teeth by etching off the enamel from the healthy surface so that the crowns can be cemented on top. Since enamel can never grow back, your teeth will always need to be supported by the crowns.
Traditional bridges can be used to replace your anterior teeth as well as back teeth.
Cantilever bridges are similar to traditional bridges, but the artificial replacement teeth are supported by an abutment on only one side. One of the major drawbacks of cantilever bridges is that since they are anchored on one side, they may act as a lever in some cases. Too much force on them can lead to complications like loosened pontics or fractured teeth. Hence, they are usually only used as anterior bridges.
Maryland bridges consist of a metal or porcelain framework which is bonded to the back of the teeth that frame the gap formed by the missing teeth. A major benefit of Maryland bridges is that they do not require the adjacent teeth to be filed down as the restoration is not held by crowns.
Since these bridges are only held by resin, they may not work well in the back area of the mouth, where the molars are subjected to a huge amount of biting force. The framework may also get in the way of your bite or gums. They are best suited to replace anterior teeth.
How a Bridge Can Help You
Many people who suffer from loss of dental and bone structure can be subjected to a hollowed facial appearance that might make them look much older than they are. Besides affecting how you look, you could also experience pain in the area of the missing tooth or cause your jaw to go out of alignment. It may take several appointments to ensure your bridge has an exact fit, but once it is taken care of, it can last for a lifetime.
The best way to take care of your prosthetic is to continue an optimal oral care routine at home that includes flossing and brushing on a daily basis. Make sure to make regular appointments, which are usually only every six months, but may be necessary to have more often depending on what your specific needs require. You may need a special type of flosser for your replacement, but if anything, that makes it more important to remember to floss. There are more areas for bacteria to hide, and it is vital to the health of your enamel to keep it away.
If you are missing one or more teeth and would like to learn more about how bridges are often used for restoring a smile, please give Beautiful Smiles a call at (530) 206-9211 where we would be happy to answer any of your questions or can help you schedule an appointment for a consultation right away.