Bridges fill the space created by missing teeth or a missing tooth. A prosthetic tooth or teeth are created to take the place of missing teeth, held in place or anchored by remaining teeth. This procedure is as much art as it is dentistry in that a replacement tooth is designed and fabricated to resemble the missing tooth and match other teeth.
This is an affordable option for many patients we see in our Wasilla dental office who need to replace a missing tooth. A bridge uses the bordering teeth as support, hence the name. The materials used for our tooth bridges are usually porcelain, gold or metal alloys, or all ceramic.
The teeth anchoring the bridge are known as “abutment teeth.” In some cases, abutment teeth can also be dental implants. Tooth crowns will be placed over the abutment teeth, bonded with the rest of the bridge. The prosthetic teeth in the bridge (not the crowns placed on the abutment teeth) are called “pontics.”
Why Should I Replace Teeth or Fill Gaps with Dental Bridges?
It is important that a missing tooth be replaced as soon as possible. If an extended amount of time goes by, the gap where the tooth is missing begins to shift inward, causing a chain reaction of negative results.
As the teeth begin to wander or fall, the bite shifts and creates bigger problems such as joint pain or temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMJ). Surrounding teeth begin to deteriorate and fall out. Also, as gum disease forms and escalates, it becomes harder to treat as the neglect continues.
To keep your teeth healthy and jaw bite aligned, come to Meridian Dental to get your teeth replaced with dental bridges! Our cosmetic dentist in Wasilla, AK has years of experience beautifying smiles with attractive tooth bridges.
Can I Get Bridges in a Single Appointment?
Receiving your bridges is a process that takes at least two appointments. In the first appointment, the abutments will be prepared for crowns and impressions or molds made to properly size and fit the bridge. The molds will be sent to a dental lab where your permanent bridge will be created.
Usually, it takes around two weeks for the bridge to be completed. During that time, our dentist will provide you with a temporary bridge, so teeth don’t shift. Once the bridge is finished, you’ll return to our Wasilla dental office where our dentist will bind your custom bridge to its anchors. Additional check-up appointments may be necessary to make adjustments to the bridge.
The procedure will take longer if the patient is receiving an implant bridge (see types of bridges below). In these cases, patients will have implant surgery to place implants into the bone. The waiting period after this procedure can take a few months as the implant is set securely or fused with the bone. Patients will need to wait until then to proceed with getting their dental bridge, although they will receive a temporary implant bridge and temporary implant crowns.
Types of Dental Bridges
Our cosmetic dentist will help you pick the right bridge or bridges to replace your missing teeth. Each patient is different, and some bridges will be better than others. Here are a few types of dental bridges that our dentist and you may discuss during a consultation appointment:
- Traditional bridge: Such a bridge is bonded onto two healthy, strong teeth on either side of a tooth gap. This gap may be where one to two teeth went missing, to be replaced by new, prosthetic teeth, secured by the other teeth.
- Implant bridge: With an implant bridge, dental implants will be used to keep the bridge in place. Crowns will be created to place over the anchoring implants that resemble natural teeth. The prosthetic teeth in the bridge itself will also look like natural teeth. These can be used to fill gaps with up to 5 missing teeth. Even without healthy teeth to support a bridge, an implant bridge can provide sturdy teeth replacements.
- Fixed bridge: This kind of bridge is a permanent solution for filling gaps from missing teeth. Dentists may recommend this for patients with little to no more remaining teeth that still have their jawbone structure in place. A fixed bridge can either be an implant bridge or a traditional bridge, depending on how healthy any remaining teeth are and where they are located.
- Removable bridge: As the name suggests, a removable bridge can be taken out of the patient’s mouth when they wish. It can be a good option when multiple sections of the patient’s mouth need teeth replacements. These sections need to be in the same dental arch, but they don’t need anchoring teeth on either side of the gaps. The removable bridge will be more stable, though, with sturdy abutment teeth to support it. But this does also depends on the location of the abutment teeth.
- Resin-retained bridge: Rather than using porcelain, metal, or ceramic for the pontic like with other dental bridges, this bridge uses composite resin to create the pontic or pontics. It is a type of fixed bridge, usually better for front teeth that don’t experience as much pressure.
- Cantilever dental bridge: This is another bridge that is recommended more for teeth that don’t do the heavy lifting when it comes to chewing food. Abutment teeth are only needed on one side of the bridge.
Schedule an Appointment with Meridian Dental to Receive Your Bridges!
Call our dental office today or visit us to begin being fitted for your tooth bridges! We promise to provide great-looking bridges that fit well, match your other teeth, and help maintain your overall dental health.