When a dentist tells someone they need a bridge, it can be confusing to know what that means. Bridges are something we imagine on a road or over a river, not in our mouths, but the concepts are very similar. A bridge, in engineering terms, is a structure that is anchored on two ends and spans over an empty space (a river and a body of water or the air over an existing road). A dental bridge is also anchored on two ends (on two existing teeth which are deemed healthy enough to hold it up) and spans over an empty space (a gap left from missing teeth). A bridge can replace one or more missing teeth and is a great option for someone who lost a tooth and needs to replace it to be able to chew or for esthetics.
Bridges are made out of the same materials as crowns. In fact, bridges are structurally just crowns bonded together in a row. They can be full gold, porcelain fused to gold, or fully tooth-colored porcelain. To learn more about crown and bridge materials, see our crown info.
The majority of bridges involve the space of three teeth (two teeth which are covered by a crown and one missing tooth). The teeth which are capped, and are the edges of the bridge, are called “abutment teeth”; they support the bridge and hold it in. The “fake tooth”, which replaces the missing teeth, is called a “pontic.” Although most bridges have one pontic, they replace one missing tooth, bridges can still be longer. We take into account the forces the bridge will be under when biting and chewing, the health of the bone and tooth of the abutment teeth, and the esthetics of the bone under the bridge when considering how long a bridge can be. If the evaluation shows that a longer bridge could be successful, bridges can be a good, cost-effective option for replacing multiple teeth.
Bridges are very esthetic options for replacing missing teeth. Bridges, especially those made of the tooth-colored porcelain material, will look very similar to the original tooth they are replacing. Things which compromise the esthetics of a bridge are the level of bone under the bridge (if you have lost a lot of bone, it causes a gap under the bridge), the color and fillings under the abutment teeth, and how well someone is able to care for their bridge.
Depending on how many teeth are involved, bridges can be less expensive, although it really depends on a lot of different factors like how much healthy bone you have, how deep the cavities are, and how many teeth you are missing. Bridges are also a good option if you have minimal bone or if vital anatomical structures (like your sinus or your nerve) are too close to the area that is missing a tooth.
Implants are another great option for replacing teeth and are touted for being a “single-tooth solution to a single-tooth problem.” Bridges are known for connecting the fates of multiple teeth together; if a cavity forms on one abutment tooth, the entire bridge is endangered. So, implants, which you floss are care for just like your teeth, can also be a powerful solution.
A simple conversation with your dentist about what the best option is for your particular situation can help clear up any confusion you may have. Dr. Jyothi K is happy to schedule a free consultation with you to discuss your options.
Bridges are a “fixed” option for replacing teeth; this means they are permanently cemented by the dentist and do not come off. The other fixed option for replacing teeth is an implant. You can learn more about implants on this page. We can also replace missing teeth with removable options, like a partial or complete denture.
Removable options are often less expensive but take more time to get used to, are more difficult to chew with, and are often more difficult to tolerate. To schedule a free consultation to discuss your options with Dr. Jyothi, click here.
A bridge still has tooth structure underneath it and the place where the bridge meets the tooth is a susceptible area for cavities. You should brush your teeth, including all crowns and bridges, twice a day for two minutes each time. You should also floss all your teeth. Bridges can be challenging to floss due to the fact that multiple teeth are attached together, so you should use floss-threaders or Super-floss to get underneath the bridge to clean it. Water flossers are also a good option for cleaning under your bridge. It is important to see your dentist regularly for a cleaning, checkup, and oral cancer screening. How often should you be seen? Unlike many dental practices, our office personalizes the recall frequency to optimize your oral health.
Having a missing tooth is problematic for many reasons. The most obvious is esthetics; missing teeth can affect your smile. The problems go beyond esthetics, though, and also affect function. Missing teeth can change how you are able to bite, changing the forces on neighboring teeth. It can even affect your chewing capacity, especially if teeth move. It can cause fractures and failures in surrounding teeth, as well.
If you wait too long after your tooth is removed to find a solution to replace it, your teeth may move into the gap of the missing tooth; teeth tend to shift into empty spaces over time. The opposing tooth may “super-erupt”, which in some cases, effects how long it will stay in your mouth. If the teeth close that space too much, it may limit the types of replacement options or even prevent a replacement option completely.
Looking for a family Parker dentist that has the experience you want with the care and compassion you deserve, look no further than Smile Always. Our staff will create an individualized treatment plan to help you achieve optimal oral health. Whether it’s a routine checkup or an emergency visit, we are here to serve you. Our state-of-the-art office has the highest-quality equipment to provide the best family dentistry services possible. Contact us today for an appointment and create the change you’ve always desired. Simply call or text at our direct line or fill out this form to have our office reach out with options.
10521 S. Parker Rd. Suite E, Parker, CO 80134
Mon-Tue: 9:00am - 6:00pm
Wed-Thu: 7:00am - 4:00pm
Friday: 8:00am - 5:00pm
Saturday: 8:00am - 2:00pm
By Appointment Only