dental bridge procedure

Dental Bridge Procedure: What You Need to Know Before Getting One

You’re missing a tooth and wonder about your options. You could:

  • Ignore it and hope a new tooth grows
  • Live without the tooth
  • Wait months for a dental implant
  • Get a dental bridge

As you probably already know, a new tooth won’t grow in its place, and living without it isn’t a great choice. While dental implants are good options, they take time. Therefore, you might turn to a bridge.

If so, you’ll want to learn about the dental bridge procedure before going through it. This procedure is commonly used to replace missing teeth. Here is a breakdown of what to expect with a dental bridge procedure.

The Basic Components of a Dental Bridge

A dental bridge is a device dentists use to replace missing teeth. They consist of several parts and require two or more visits to complete. People opt for them not just for a perfect smile, but also for oral health reasons.

The first component of a dental bridge is the pontics. These are the artificial teeth that will “bridge” the gap. They fill in the missing teeth.

The next component is dental crowns. Dental crowns are artificial teeth that cover your natural teeth. They help support the pontics on the bridge.

Finally, a bridge requires abutments. These are parts holding the bridge together and providing the support it needs.

There are several types of bridges, but your dentist will determine the right type for your situation. A bridge can hold one artificial tooth or multiple teeth, depending on the situation. 

The Beneficial Reasons to Replace a Missing Tooth

Your oral health matters, as it affects your looks, your ability to eat and speak, and your general health. As a result, every tooth matters.

Losing a permanent tooth can affect the way you look and feel about yourself. You might smile less often or smile with your lips locked together. A gap in your mouth can make you feel self-conscious or embarrassed.

Each tooth also plays a role in how you speak. Your tongue relies on your tooth to enunciate sounds, and if one is missing, you might experience trouble speaking clearly.

You also use your teeth for chewing. Without them, chewing and eating the foods you enjoy might be difficult.

A missing tooth also has deeper consequences. Using your teeth stimulates the jawbone below or above the teeth. This process keeps the jawbone dense and strong.

When a tooth is absent, the jawbone suffers. Without a tooth there to stimulate the bone, it gradually wears away. This can cause several issues, including affecting the shape of your face.

If left unaddressed for too long, you may need a full-mouth reconstruction if you want to fix your teeth. These procedures, performed by an oral surgeon, can be intense.

It’s better to replace a missing tooth immediately after it’s lost. You might lose a tooth due to trauma, decay, or another reason, but there are always options for replacing teeth.

One additional purpose of teeth is to hold the others in place. Once a tooth is gone, the other teeth may shift out of place. Unfortunately, this can be detrimental to anyone who has had braces at some point. 

How the Dental Bridge Procedure Works

The dental bridge process requires multiple steps and begins with an evaluation. You must meet with a dentist to determine whether this option is feasible. If so, your dentist will explain the process and how to proceed.

First Visit

The dentist may use the first appointment to prepare your teeth for the bridge and create a plan. This visit generally requires four steps. 

First, the dentist will offer local anesthesia to numb the area. This is the same anesthesia dentists use for repairing tooth decay and extracting teeth. 

Next, the dentist will work on the teeth next to the gap. They call these the abutment teeth, as the dentist uses them to hold the bridge in place.

Dentists prepare this by removing the outer portions to make room for the crowns. This step is essential for the crowns to have room to fit over these teeth.

After doing this, the dentist will begin making impressions. This step is crucial for the dental bridge process. They will use these impressions to create the crowns for the abutment teeth and the artificial tooth they’ll hold.

Finally, the dentist will place a temporary bridge with crowns in your mouth. This device protects the teeth while waiting for the permanent crown and prevents the teeth from changing while you wait. 

Second Visit

The second visit takes less time in most cases but can vary. It generally occurs within a few weeks after the first appointment. During this visit, the dentist removes the temporary bridge and installs the permanent one.

If it fits properly, the dentist will bond it in place. If it doesn’t fit properly, the dentist will make any necessary changes before cementing it in place. 

Once cemented, the bridge should stay in place and function like your normal teeth. 

Aftercare for a Dental Bridge

After getting a dental bridge, while your teeth may look perfect, you’ll need to care for your bridge. You can do this in several ways.

First, care for the bridge like you do for your other teeth. This requires brushing, flossing, and visiting a dentist for routine cleanings. 

Secondly, watch what you eat. While a bridge is durable and can last long, eating sticky or hard foods might dislodge it. Avoid eating sticky things for this reason.

Replace Your Missing Tooth With a Dental Bridge

The dental bridge procedure provides a solution for your missing tooth. Dental bridges are durable and look natural. They last long and provide a fully-functioning replacement tooth to fill the gap.

Are you looking for quality dental services in Lexington, KY? Look no further.

Justice Dental offers high-quality dental services from a team of caring dentists. We provide customized services with an emphasis on improving appearance and oral hygiene. 

Contact us to learn more about dental bridges and other restorative dental services!