If you have lost one tooth or multiple consecutive teeth, a dental bridge is often an excellent way to restore your smile while providing a natural appearance. Bridges are affixed between two durable crowns, and can be color matched for an attractive appearance that blends seamlessly with surrounding teeth. Replacing a missing tooth or teeth with a dental bridge can restore both form and function, enabling you to smile with confidence in addition to improving your ability to speak and eat.
While Dr. Edward Shukovsky—our experienced cosmetic dentist—frequently recommends dental implants as the ideal solution for replacing one or more missing or damaged teeth, not all patients are candidates for the procedure. In these cases, a dental bridge is typically the best alternative, especially because it offers many of the same benefits as a dental implant. Dental bridges can help:
- Restore form and function to your teeth
- Provide a natural-looking replacement for missing/damaged teeth
- Promote improved oral health
- Prevent shifting of surrounding teeth
- Improve one’s ability to speak and eat properly
- Boost self-confidence
What Are Dental Bridges?
Made of durable porcelain, a dental bridge is designed to be a long-lasting replacement for a missing or damaged tooth (or teeth), while providing a natural look and feel. Depending on how many consecutive teeth are affected, a bridge can vary in size to fill a gap created by one or more missing teeth. For support, the bridge is affixed between two porcelain dental crowns, which are bonded to the teeth on either side of the area being addressed. The bridge and surrounding crowns are shaped and tinted to match the appearance of your existing teeth.
Am I a Candidate for a Dental Bridge?
If you have severely damaged or missing teeth, dental bridges may be able to help. If the affected teeth are adjacent to one another, a custom bridge can be made to fill the gap. If the teeth needing replacement are not next to each other, more than one dental bridge may be needed. In some cases, dental implants may be a better solution—in your one-on-one consultation, Dr. Shukovsky can help you determine the best treatment for your individual situation.
The Dental Bridge Process
Dental bridge placement typically requires two separate visits. Before your bridge can be added, the teeth on either side—known as abutment teeth—need to be prepared for the supporting crowns (Dr. Shukovsky can use local anesthesia to make this process as comfortable as possible). Once the teeth are ready, a cast of the area is taken to ensure a proper fit for the crowns and bridge. The cast is sent to the lab, where a custom restoration is created. In the meantime, a temporary bridge is fitted to protect the abutment teeth. Once the bridge has been made, you will be asked to return for a second appointment so Dr. Shukovsky can skillfully and carefully cement the bridge in place via the supporting crowns.
How Do I Care for a Dental Bridge?
A dental bridge can be a long-lasting solution for tooth replacement. However, the success of a dental bridge relies heavily on good oral hygiene. To maintain your bridge, daily brushing and flossing is crucial, as well as routine dental cleanings. Floss threaders may be needed to floss around the bridge, but you should be able to floss as usual outside the supporting crowns.
If you have missing or damaged teeth that are affecting your oral health and/or your ability to speak and eat, a dental bridge could be an appropriate option. Contact our office today to schedule a consultation with Dr. Shukovsky to see if this restorative treatment is right for you.