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What are dental bridges?

From a freak accident that led to tooth loss to molars that simply never emerged when you were younger, there are a variety of scenarios that leave people without a full set of teeth. That you may know. What you may not fully appreciate, however, are the tremendous technologies and treatments that can restore your smile so it looks as good as new.

One of which is through dental bridges. Whether you’ve never heard of such a thing or you’re seriously considering it but still not sure, here you’ll learn more details about the procedure so you can make a more informed dental decision.

What are dental bridges? 
Unlike a root canal or a filling, which requires a fair amount of explanation to describe what they are, dental bridges are pretty straightforward: They fill spaces where two, three or more teeth are missing with replacement teeth. Much like an overpass connects two points on the highway, dental bridges literally “bridge the gap” that exists in your mouth, whether those teeth are along the roof or the floor. 

Once in place, dental bridges can truly make it look like a natural, full set of teeth — as if there was never an opening there at all.

How do dental bridges work?
Where it gets a little more complex is in terms of their composition. Dental bridges are a combination of abutment teeth and pontics. The former — abutment teeth — are delineated as such because they’re the ones that flank the teeth in the middle. For example, if you have three missing teeth all in a row, the two on the opposite ends of one another are the abutment teeth; they serve as the anchor by latching onto the nearby natural teeth. A pontic tooth or teeth sits in between and depends on the abutment teeth to fit snuggly and securely.

There may be scenarios in which the adjacent teeth — specifically, the natural ones next to the abutment teeth — either don’t exist or are too weak to serve as support. You may still be a candidate for dental bridges in such cases, but instead of using crowns for the abutment teeth, we’d use an implant. These typically have metal posts that are built within the implant itself. They are then surgically inserted into the gum line so they will be immovable.

A dental bridge can restore your smile to its full form. A dental bridge can restore your smile to its full form.

For how long do dental bridges usually last?
Just as every jaw, smile and tooth is unique, the same goes for the duration of dental bridges: It depends on many factors and variables, some of which are related to your age and the health of your existing teeth. Generally speaking, though, you can expect dental bridges to function without issue for between 10 and 15 years. After this period, you may need to see us at City Dentists so we can evaluate how the bridge is performing and ask questions as to whether you’ve noticed any changes to your bite or experiencing any pain. We may need to make some adjustments if that’s the case. A dental bridge may need to be replaced entirely after 15 years has passed but it’s not unusual for dental bridges to last even longer.

What are the main advantages to getting a dental bridge?
Perhaps the biggest positive to this procedure is the added self-confidence that you get. It’s very natural to be self-conscious about showing your teeth, as they are often one of the first physical features people notice. The ability to reclaim a sense of self-assurance by showing off those pearly whites is truly priceless.

Speaking of price, this is another advantage to dental bridges: They’re cost-effective, especially when compared to other dental solutions, such as implants. Just one implant can cost several thousands of dollars, while you may be able to get multiple teeth replaced with a bridge for around the same price. In short, you get more teeth for your buck.

An additional selling point for dental bridges is the ability to chew more easily. The body naturally acclimates and adjusts to its circumstances, so if you have had missing teeth for a number of years, how you chew may not seem unusual or especially difficult. But you’ll be amazed by what you’ve been putting up with for so long once your dental bridge is in place. The difference is like night and day.

If these pluses weren’t enough, how quickly you can get a dental bridge is also worth mentioning.  Unlike implants, which can take months (depending on how many you’re getting), dental bridges usually entail no more than two to three appointments.

If a dental bridge sounds like something that would be ideal for you, City Dentists can make it happen. Contact us to set up a consultation; we’ll let you know if you’re a good candidate and what you can expect leading up to the procedure. Book an appointment online today.

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