If you are missing one or more teeth, you are not alone. The typical adult between the ages of 20 and 64 has three or more missing or decaying teeth, according to the American Dental Association (ADA).
Dental bridges are used to bridge the gap left behind by one or more missing teeth.
For many, dental bridges are the perfect solution to restoring a great smile. A dental bridge fills the gap left by one or more missing teeth. The replacement tooth or teeth look, feel, and function like natural teeth, so dental bridges prevent many of the problems associated with missing teeth while restoring your smile.
Why You Should Always Replace Missing Teeth
There are many different reasons why tooth loss occurs in adults. One of the leading causes, a severe gum disease called periodontitis, is preventable with proper oral hygiene and dental cleanings.
Whatever the cause, missing teeth should not be seen as only a cosmetic issue. Missing teeth can affect the way you talk and even chew food. Sometimes, missing teeth can cause pain when chewing or lead to discomfort in your jaw. Missing teeth may also alter your bite. This is because the teeth that are next to the missing tooth, known as abutment teeth, will begin to shift to fill the gap. This shifting changes how your upper teeth meet your lower teeth when you chew or close your mouth. Dental bridges are used to replace missing teeth, keeping your bite, and lifestyle, from changing just because you have suffered from tooth loss.
Types of Dental Bridges
There are a number of different dental bridges available today. Each type of dental bridge provides a different approach to the replacement of missing teeth, so nearly everyone can find a dental bridge that works for their personal and cosmetic needs.
A traditional bridge is the most common type of dental bridge. A traditional dental bridge features two crowns that fit snugly over the two healthy abutment teeth on each side of the gap caused by the missing tooth. The missing tooth gap is then filled with a replacement tooth that looks and feels like your missing tooth. The crowns are typically made of porcelain fused to metal or ceramic.
If you are missing more than one consecutive tooth, cantilever bridges may be your dental bridge option. Cantilever bridges are used when there are abutment teeth on only one side of the missing tooth gap. Cantilever bridges only have one crown along with the replacement tooth or teeth.
A Maryland bridge is similar to a traditional bridge. The key difference between the two is that a Maryland bridge features a metal framework designed to attach to the two abutment teeth, rather than using crowns to secure the replacement teeth.
Implant-supported dental bridges are a very unique type of bridge. Instead of using crowns on abutment teeth or building a structure on which to attach replacement teeth, implant-supported bridges feature replacement teeth affixed to sturdy titanium posts that are firmly implanted into your jawbone. Dentists may recommend implant-supported teeth if you are missing more than one tooth or if you grind your teeth, which can place too much pressure on replacement teeth.
In some cases, a dentist will pair dental bonding along with the dental bridge to improve the overall appearance of a patient’s smile. Dental bonding uses a tooth-colored composite resin to repair damaged, cracked, or chipped teeth.
Taking Care of Your Dental Bridges
While dental bridges offer a fitting solution for missing teeth, they will need to be replaced every 5 to 15 years. The replacement period depends on how well you take care of your dental bridges.
Follow these maintenance tips to take care of your achieve longer-lasting dental bridges:
- Practice good oral hygiene. Brushing, flossing, rinsing, and professional dental cleanings should never be optional, especially if you have dental bridges. You should brush your teeth and gums twice a day, and floss daily.
- To prevent cracking, damage, or breakage to your dental bridges, avoid chewing on hard foods, ice, and other hard objects.
- If you have a dental bridge, you should see your dentist regularly for cleanings and checkups. Regular visits allow your dentist to monitor your dental bridge for cracks or other issues.
For more information about dental bridges, and other ways to improve your smile, be sure to speak with a dental professional. If you are looking for a dental professional in the Raleigh, North Carolina area to provide dental bridge services and answer questions, Williams & Daily Dental is here to help.
Williams & Daily Dental is a family and cosmetic dentist located in North Raleigh, NC with a team of dedicated dentists enthusiastic in their commitment to their patients. Contact Williams & Daily at (919) 846-9070 for more information and to schedule an appointment today.