Missing teeth can negatively impact your ability to eat, speak, and maintain quality oral health. If you’re missing teeth, you have a few different options. For some, the simplest solution is to have a dental bridge installed. Dental bridges are used to replace missing teeth.
These bridges look like natural teeth, can replace one or several teeth, and don’t need to be removed and cleaned like dentures do. If you’ve never had a dental bridge before and are curious as to whether one would be right for you, you likely have a number of questions. The information below will help answer many of those questions, and we always invite you to give us a call if you have more.
How Does a Dental Bridge Work?
A dental bridge is so named because it’s literally a bridge of replacement teeth that is installed in place of missing teeth. It fills in a gap between your natural teeth. These false teeth can be made from porcelain, metal, and other materials that are commonly used for crowns or implants. A dental bridge must be custom-made to fit your natural smile and bite. Fitting a dental bridge usually takes two appointments to complete.
During your first appointment, a member of our team will prepare the teeth on either side of the existing space before taking an impression that will be sent off to the lab. Between appointments, Dr. Zavari will provide a temporary bridge designed to protect your smile until your permanent bridge arrives from the lab. Once your custom-made bridge is ready, Dr. Zavari will place the bridge into position and provide tips on how to maintain your new oral appliance.
Is a Bridge Right for Me?
If you have missing teeth, even if it’s just one tooth, a dental bridge could be the solution to restoring your smile. Bridges are usually only used to replace damaged or lost teeth, not for cosmetic changes, because the procedure is somewhat invasive. Bridges also need to have healthy, strong teeth on either side of the gap. These teeth anchor the bridge in place, so they need to be sturdy and undamaged. This also requires us to reshape part of these teeth away for the bridge to fit right, which can be a concern.
A bridge may also be the best treatment for you if you’re not a good candidate to have dental implants installed. Some people don’t have the bone density in their jaw to hold the implants. Others may have dental or medical concerns that makes a bridge a better solution.
Why Have a Dental Bridge Installed?
When it comes to replacing missing teeth, you have a number of options. However, having a dental bridge may be the best solution for you. They are less invasive and more affordable than having dental implants installed, and they require less maintenance than dentures.
Looking at it from a dental health point of view, having a bridge installed is important to the well-being of your other teeth, your jaw joint, your appearance and most importantly your overall health when you can’t chew food effectively. When you go too long with missing teeth, it can impact more than just your smile. It can actually change how your face looks, make it difficult to speak or eat, and cause other teeth to shift and cause TMJ problem. .
How Long Does a Dental Bridge Last?
Like crowns, the material used in your dental bridge will eventually need to be replaced. Generally, dental bridges will last between 10 and 15 years, depending on how much wear and tear they go through and how well they’re taken care of. If you practice good oral hygiene, your dental bridge can easily last 15 years. If you sustain a facial injury, it’s possible your bridge will need to be replaced earlier due to damage.
How Long Does It Take to Get a Bridge?
The time it takes from your first Beaverton dentist appointment with Dr Zavari to when you have your full bridge installed is usually around two to three weeks, not counting the initial consultation, if everything goes as planned.
During the initial consultation, we will examine your teeth and mouth to make certain a bridge is the right solution for you. This involves taking X-rays and doing a visual exam. We’ll then schedule a time for the first of two appointments. During the first appointment, we prepare the teeth on either side of the bridge to hold it in place. We may also need to remove any remaining parts of the teeth in between. Once we’ve done this, we make an impression of your mouth. Then we will fabricate a temporary bridge.
Once the permanent bridge has been created by our skilled local technicians (it takes 2-3 weeks, usually), you come back for your second visit. We remove the temporary bridge and permanently cement your beautiful bridge using dental cement.
What Follow-Up Care Should I Take?
Because your dental bridge is a permanent part of your mouth, there isn’t much that you need to do to take care of it other than follow regular good oral hygiene habits. You will need to brush twice a day and floss daily. If you do notice anything wrong with your bridge, call us right away.
Practicing quality oral hygiene habits such as brushing and flossing will keep the bridge and surrounding teeth functional and in good health. It's very important that the teeth bracketing your bridge stay healthy, as the bridge relies on the neighboring teeth for support.
If you’re in need of a dental bridge by a nearby dentist in Beaverton, our skilled and professional team is here to help. Dr. Zavari has years of experience in creating beautiful and functional smiles including dental bridges. Contact our office today to schedule a consultation.
Finally, there’s a dentist you enjoy visiting. Dr. Bita Zavari specializes in cosmetic dentistry, Invisalign, and sleep apnea treatment. She brings a level of care, newest technology, and continuing education unlike any dentist in Beaverton and SW Portland. Elite Dental Care is known for our spa-inspired experience, with welcoming staff, patient entertainment, and state-of-the-art technology. We are conveniently located near Cedar Hills.