Most people would agree that missing teeth can affect your self-confidence, but it can also cause problems with speaking, eating, and might even feel uncomfortable. One of the most simple and reliable methods of tooth replacement is the dental bridge. Dr. Byron Desbordes is a Baltimore, MD dentist offering dental bridges and a variety of other restorative dentistry options for patients dealing with damaged or missing teeth.
What is a Dental Bridge?
A dental bridge is, as the name suggests, a tooth replacement option that fills the gap left by a missing tooth by forming a bridge of teeth. An artificial replacement tooth is supported on each side by the healthy adjacent teeth to restore the appearance and function of your smile.
The teeth surrounding the gap are called the “abutments,” and they must be prepared by removing several layers of enamel so they can receive the attachment crowns. The most ideal candidates for bridgework are those who have multiple teeth in a row that would already need crowns, as this preparation does require altering healthy teeth.
Building a Bridge
As explained above, if you have one missing tooth, your bridge will need three crowns: two to cover the abutment teeth on either side of the gap left by the missing tooth and one in between. This arrangement is known as a three-unit bridge.
If more than one tooth is missing, more crowns (and possibly more abutment teeth) will be needed to create the bridge. Your dentist must take several variables into account in this calculation: the number of teeth missing, the size, length and stability of the abutment tooth roots, and also from where in the mouth the teeth were lost. It is also possible to have dental implant-supported bridges.
So if you are missing three teeth, four abutment teeth may be necessary, thereby creating a seven-tooth bridge. Engineering and designing the bridge requires an understanding of the biology of the tooth-supporting gum and bone tissue as well as how to replace teeth.
What to Expect
Getting bridgework completed usually requires two visits to the dentist’s office. At the first visit, local anesthetic will be administered and your abutment teeth will be prepared as described above. Molds of your prepped teeth will be taken to prepare three-dimensional models of your teeth, used to construct the crowns. A temporary bridge will be placed before you leave the office.
When your permanent bridge is ready, it will be permanently placed during the second visit. You will need to become accustomed to the feel of the new bridge against your tongue, lips, and cheeks, but will eventually come to accept it as part of your own teeth.
Dental Bridges in Baltimore, MD
If you are in the Baltimore area and would like to discuss tooth replacement options with a skilled professional dentist or even just have a routine teeth cleaning, call (410) 216-4023 or schedule online with Dr. Desbordes today.