When Dental Bridges Are Needed

When Dental Bridges Are Needed

Most dentists would agree that when possible, it’s best to hold onto all of your natural teeth for as long as you can. However, sometimes life circumstances or other problems result in tooth loss. When that happens, best dental practices strongly recommend putting something in its place.

About Dental Bridges

When replacing a lost tooth, one of your options is a dental bridge. The bridge consists of a false tooth (or pontic) that is attached to a dental crown on each side. These crowns are then placed over the adjacent teeth (even an implanted one), holding the pontic securely in place. As the name implies, this creates a “bridge” over the empty space where a tooth once was.

You might wonder if it’s really that important to replace a lost tooth. However, replacement is not only vital for chewing and biting, but for keeping your smile intact. You see, when a gap is left alone over time, the other teeth in the area often begin to move into that space, resulting in crooked teeth and an uneven bite. A bridge will prevent your other teeth from moving out of position, keeping your smile beautiful.

Dental bridges look very natural, and restore your ability to chew normally. They don’t typically last as long as an implant, but the installation process is shorter and less invasive. Your bridge can usually be installed in 2 office visits, and doesn’t require surgery. However, a bridge can put additional stress on the adjoining teeth, so it’s important to make sure they are healthy. Most dental insurance plans provide coverage for bridges.

What’s the Process?

In your first office visit, your adjacent teeth will be filed down to prepare them for the crowns that will be applied to secure the bridge. Your dentist will also take an impression, so the lab can customize the crowns and pontic for your unique space and teeth. Meanwhile, you’ll usually receive a temporary bridge to wear while yours is being made. When it’s ready, you’ll visit the dentist a second time to attach your permanent bridge. Sometimes, it will first be secured temporarily, to allow for changes in the fit and bite before it is permanently placed. This would likely result in a completion over 3 visits.

Make an Informed Decision

If you are missing a tooth or have one that requires extraction, spend some time weighing your options and learning about the pros and cons of each. Always consult with your dentist before making a final decision for your situation. A bridge may not be right for everyone, but it could be the best choice for you.

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