Dental Bridges

Lansing, Okemos, Meridian Township and nearby areas of Michigan

A dental bridge can help safeguard health for your existing teeth

One or more missing teeth can adversely affect the appearance and functionality of your smile. Missing teeth can cause a change in occlusion (bite), shifting of the teeth, TMJ-temporomandibular joint disorder, speech impediments, an increased risk for periodontal disease(gum disease) and a greater chance of tooth decay.

Achieving a natural looking and realistic smile after tooth loss is possible with dental bridges. Dental bridges are one method used by dentists to fill a gap created by a missing tooth (or teeth). Depending on the dental bridge type you choose, the procedure and cost will vary.

Dental bridges, like implants and partial dentures, are used to replace missing teeth. There are several types of fixed dental bridges (cannot be removed), including conventional fixed bridges, cantilever bridges and resin-bonded bridges.

What is a Dental Bridge?

A dental bridge is made up of two crowns for the teeth on either side of the gap and a false tooth in between. Natural teeth, dental implants, or a combination of natural teeth and dental implants can be used to support the bridge. The dental bridge type you choose will depend on the condition of your smile, and the cosmetic results you desire. Whether you are looking for a temporary or permanent tooth loss solution, there is a dental bridge ideally suited for your needs.

The Dental Bridge Procedure

During the first visit, Dr. Tenaglia examines the health of your gums and other teeth to evaluate if you are a candidate for a dental bridge. If you are a candidate for a dental bridge, you are given a local anesthetic so Dr. Tenaglia can shape the adjacent teeth required to support the bridge. If the support teeth are decayed or badly broken down, we may have to build them back up before they can be used as support teeth for a bridge.
Next, Dr. Tenaglia takes an impression of the prepared teeth with a putty-like material that is used to create a model of your teeth. Your bridge is fabricated based on this model by a master lab technician so that it precisely fits the prepared teeth. It is important that your restoration fit perfectly to avoid additional oral health problems such as tooth decay.
 

Images Courtesy of Nucleus Medical Art © 2007. All rights reserved. www.nucleusinc.com

A resin-bonded bridge requires less preparation of adjacent teeth. It is often used to replace front teeth, provided that the gums are healthy and the surrounding teeth do not have extensive dental fillings.

While your bridge is being fabricated, we fit you with a temporary bridge so the teeth and gums can be protected from damage until your permanent bridge is ready.

To complete the dental bridge procedure, you must return to the dental office for a second visit to have the bridge fitted and cemented.

Types of Dental Bridges

There are three types of dental bridges:

Traditional Bridge:
This type of dental bridge work consists of two crowns for the teeth on either side of the gap, with a false tooth in between, called a pontic. Traditional bridges are the most commonly used type of dental bridge and are made of all ceramic or porcelain fused to metal (PFM). If there are no surrounding  teeth to support the crowns, dental implants can be used to fix the bridge in place.

Cantilever Bridge:
This type of dental bridge is used when there are teeth on only one side of the gap in the mouth. Two crowns fused to the replacement tooth are used to fix the bridge to the adjacent natural teeth.

Maryland Bonded Bridge:
This type of dental bridge is made up of plastic teeth and gums supported by a metal framework. The bonded dental bridge has little to no tooth preparation.  It generally is not last as long and will have to be redone more frequently.

What Are the Benefits of Dental Bridges?

Bridges can:

  • Restore your smile
  • Restore your ability to properly chew and speak
  • Maintain the shape of your face
  • Distribute the forces in your bite properly by replacing missing teeth
  • Prevent remaining teeth from drifting out of position

How Long Do Dental Bridges Last?
Dental bridges can last 5 to 15 years and even longer. With good oral hygiene and regular checkups, it is not unusual for the life span of a fixed bridge to be over 10 years.

Will It Be Difficult to Eat With a Dental Bridge?
Replacing missing teeth with a dental bridge should actually make eating easier. Until you become accustomed to the bridge, eat soft foods that have been cut into small pieces.

Will the Dental Bridge Change How I Speak?
It can be difficult to speak clearly when teeth are missing in the front or anterior areas. Wearing a dental bridge with the anterior teeth in their proper relationship will help you speak properly.

How Do I Care for a Bridge?
It is important to keep your remaining teeth healthy and strong as the success of the bridge (depending on the type selected) depends on the solid foundation offered by the surrounding teeth. Brushing twice a day and flossing daily helps prevent tooth decay and gum disease that can lead to tooth loss. Your dentist or dental hygienist can demonstrate how to properly brush and floss your teeth. Keeping a regular cleaning schedule will help diagnose problems at an early stage when treatment has a better prognosis. Selecting a balanced diet for proper nutrition is also important.