What is a Dental Bridge? A dental bridge is a false tooth that is used to fill the gap created by a missing tooth or missing teeth. Dental bridges use the two surrounding teeth as anchors to hold a false tooth in the place where the gap is. Typically, porcelain crowns are placed over the surrounding teeth, and the false tooth, known as a pontic, is fused between them. Should I get a dental bridge if I’m missing teeth? Leaving a gap between your teeth could lead to negative consequences. A gap can cause your teeth to shift resulting in a change in your bite that may be cause pain. Having a bridge can prevent that problem. Another alternative is to get a dental implant if you are a candidate. Types of dental bridges There are three types of dental bridges that are commonly used today: Traditional fixed bridge – This is the most common type of dental bridge, in which porcelain crowns are placed over the two surrounding teeth and used as anchors to hold the false tooth in place. The false tooth is usually made of either porcelain fused to metal or ceramics. Cantilever bridge – This is used when teeth are present on only one side of the gap. These are used typically in areas of your mouth that doesn’t experience an intense chewing load, such as your front teeth. Resin-bonded bridge – In a resin-bonded bridge, metal bands are bonded to the surrounding teeth with resin and used to hold a plastic false tooth in place. This type of bridge is typically used in areas of the mouth that undergo less stress, such as the front teeth. How it’s done There are two visits required. First visit: The surrounding teeth are prepared to be fitted with a crown. This may including filing down the tooth so that the crown can fit over it. An impression is taken of your teeth which will be sent to a laboratory to prepare the bridge and crown. The dentist fits your teeth with a temporary bridge to protect them while the bridge is prepared at the laboratory. Second visit: The temporary bridge is removed and the new bridge received from the laboratory is fitted and adjusted. Multiple visits may be necessary to check and adjust the fit.
What are dental implants? Dental implants are a way to replace missing teeth. Dental implants are titanium supports that act as an anchor for a replacement tooth. The replaced tooth is a natural-looking porcelain crown. Who can get dental implants? Dental implants might be right for you if you are in good health, have healthy gums and adequate bone in the jaw. If you lack bone, the dentist or specialist can place additional bone with a bone graft before placing an implant. Your dentist will tell you if are a candidate or may refer you to a dental specialist. How it’s done The dentist or dental specialist will examine your mouth and take xrays of your jaw and teeth to see if dental implants are right for you. If you lack bone, bone graft may be added. The best time to add bone is the time of the tooth extraction. It takes 4-6 months for the bone to get incorporated into your own bone. The dental implant is placed under your gums. The implant will bond with your jaw bone and takes around 3 months to heal. Next, your dentist attaches an abutment which is a piece that will connect your replacement tooth with the implant. Your porcelain replacement tooth is made. The tooth is properly fitted to the abutment. If you are replacing multiple teeth, a bridge will be fitted to your implants. Can I get dental implants if I have dentures? Dental implants can replace individual teeth and also be used when replacing multiple teeth as an alternative to dentures. Patients who currently wear dentures can have the stability and retention significantly improved by having their dentures ‘snap and lock’ onto dental implants. Advantages of dental implants Implants are extremely natural looking Implants are totally independent of other teeth, making it easier to clean and maintain Fusion of the implants into your jaw make them very stable and comfortable compared to traditional dentures They last a lifetime Implant costs are close to the cost of a dental bridge Disadvantages of dental implants Implants are more costly than dentures The process of getting implants can be time consuming and requires multiple visits to the dentist There is a chance the surgery fails (< 5% of the time) For more information about whether or not you are a candidate for dental implants, call 519-638-3800 for a complimentary consultation.