Many patients have asked how problematic it really is to lose a tooth. It may not seem like such a big deal, especially if it’s in an area that’s not visible when you speak or smile. However, even the loss of a single tooth can have an impact on your oral health. A missing tooth can make it more difficult to eat or chew properly, it can interfere with your speech and over time impact other areas of your mouth. Additionally, patients have found that food can get stuck in the space, and it can be difficult to properly clean the area, leading to a higher risk for tooth decay and gum disease. Moreover, on top of all of that, your surrounding teeth may begin to shift from their natural positions, throwing off your bite. At Smiles of Tulsa, we provide you with several options for the replacement of missing teeth. One of the options available is a dental bridge.
What Is A Dental Bridge?
When a patient loses a tooth, there is now a gap, an open space where the natural tooth once was. A bridge is designed to “bridge” or close that gap. We can customize a dental bridge to replace up to three missing teeth. The device is most frequently made out of ceramic, a material well known for its ability to mimic both the color and the sheen of your natural teeth. Your replacement tooth (or teeth) are set between two crowns, which are set on any combination of healthy teeth or dental implants. Using the healthy teeth or implants as anchors, we can stabilize false teeth permanently between.
How Is A Dental Bridge Placed?
Having your new dental bridge placed is a simple, mostly painless procedure that is done in our office over two office visits. First, we need to establish solid anchors to stabilize the bridge. This can be done with healthy teeth or with dental implants. The process of placing dental implants can take time, but we can prepare teeth for bridge placement during your first visit. To prepare a healthy tooth, we need to reduce the enamel and reshape the tooth so a crown can be fitted over it. We want your new bridge to fit perfectly amongst your existing teeth. After the teeth are prepared, a mold of your mouth is taken and sent to a lab, where your custom fit bridge is created. The process often takes a couple of weeks, so a temporary bridge is placed in its stead. When ready, the bridge is checked for fit and cemented into place. Once set, your smile is restored, as are the normal functions of your mouth.
Caring For Your Dental Bridge
Caring for a bridge is no different from caring for the rest of your natural teeth. We will want you to brush and floss as normal. Brushing and flossing continue to be a critical part of your oral hygiene routine, as these habits can prevent the buildup of plaque and bacteria on both your bridge and your natural teeth. Regular dental cleanings and exams will ensure that your bridge is in good shape. Properly cared for, a bridge can last 15 years or more.
Benefits Of A Dental Bridge
A dental bridge is a restorative piece that can provide many benefits, including:
|It restores your ability to eat properly, and can help to improve digestion: Patients with missing teeth tend to chew imbalance, or they remove food items from their diet. Restoring the missing tooth can help.
|A bridge restores speech: Missing teeth can cause difficulty in pronouncing certain words or sounds; this can cause awkwardness and embarrassment.
|It holds adjacent teeth in place: Open spaces and gaps leaves room for neighboring teeth to shift and move out of place. This can cause expensive and sometimes painful problems such as TMJ disorder or dysfunction. You do not want your teeth to shift in an uncontrolled manner.
|Gives you a beautiful smile: Your self confidence is important; a smile is a great way to light up a room, and we can help you do that.
We can help you have a beautiful, functional smile. Using dental appliances such as a dental bridge, dental crowns, and implants can not only improve your look, but your health. Replacing missing teeth, even if it’s only one, is essential for the health, function, and appearance of your mouth. Contact Smiles of Tulsa at (918) 891-3059 to schedule your appointment today!