When it comes to bridges, you probably think of the more famous variety such as the Tappan Zee or the Brooklyn. But when it comes to replacing a missing tooth or two, the team at Gentle Dental has another type of bridge in mind — a dental bridge.
Over 178 million Americans are missing at least a single tooth. It’s tempting for a person to avoid the cost and the hassle of replacing the tooth, but that can create havoc for your overall oral health. A dental bridge is a great solution to replacing a missing tooth or teeth and improving your smile.
What is a bridge?
Just like the kind over the East River, dental bridges have abutments and the span. Dental bridges have abutments on the natural teeth on each side of the gap. These abutments are crowns that are placed atop the healthy teeth. In between the abutment teeth are artificial teeth, called pontics. Bridges are built as a single piece including the crowns and the artificial teeth.
It’s just a missing tooth
Come on, what’s the big deal of missing a tooth here or there? you say. The problem is that without the pressure from the adjacent teeth, the teeth on both sides of the gap created by a missing tooth tend to want to slide over into the gap. This can create havoc with your bite and the alignment of your teeth. Plus, if your missing tooth is in a prime chewing area, you may avoid certain foods such as carrots or almonds just so you don’t have to chew them on one side only and so that pieces don’t get caught in the missing tooth gap.
Here are the reasons for having a bridge replace a tooth or teeth:
- To complete your smile
- To prevent adjacent teeth from moving
- To restore chewing and biting capability
- To distribute the bite forces to not overload other teeth
- To restore your speaking diction
- To maintain the shape of your face
Getting a bridge
Getting a bridge from Gentle Dental takes two visits. During the first visit, we need to prepare the abutment teeth for their crowns. This involves shaving a portion of the healthy enamel from all sides and the top of the healthy teeth. This makes room for the crowns. Then we take impressions and send them to the dental lab for the fabrication of your bridge. That usually takes around two weeks, so in the interim, we place a temporary bridge on your teeth.
When your bridge arrives, you return for your second appointment. We check the fit and color match with your other teeth. In some cases, we may temporarily place the bridge so that you can, in effect, demo the fit for a couple of days at home. When you’re satisfied with the fit, we cement the crowns permanently onto your abutment teeth, and you’re ready to show the world your new smile.