Is a dental bridge the best option for you?

Everyone deserves to have a healthy smile that they love and can confidently show no matter the occasion. With tooth replacement options like dental bridges, people with several missing teeth in a row can experience that too! Before you jump onto the dental bridge bandwagon, though, there are a couple of things you need to know about this dental device so you can make an informed decision as to whether or not this particular restoration is right for you.

1. Dental bridges require the remaining teeth to be healthy.

Because a dental bridge is often anchored to the teeth on either side of the gap (abutment teeth), these teeth need to be healthy to provide a stable support for the restoration. For the bridge to fit properly, your dentist will need to file down the healthy abutment teeth, and since enamel cannot regenerate, this is an irreversible process. That’s why it’s important to receive a thorough oral evaluation to find out the reason for your tooth loss. If your remaining teeth have suffered an infection or significant decay, your dentist will need to treat and restore the damaged or vulnerable teeth before moving forward with a tooth replacement option like a dental bridge.

2. Traditional bridges may not work for everyone.

Although traditional bridges are the most common type of dental bridge, this prosthetic option may not work for people who have abutment teeth that aren’t healthy enough to support the restoration. Fortunately, there are many different types of dental bridges, and depending on the location and number of missing teeth, your dentist can suggest the most suitable one after a complete examination.

So even if decay or infection compromises the structural integrity of your abutment teeth, you may still be a good candidate for other dental bridge options like implant-supported bridges, which use one or two surgically-implanted titanium posts to support the restoration.

A dental bridge can also be a good option for people who have a tough time eradicating periodontal disease because not every type of bridge requires an implant in the gum tissue to work.

3. A single bridge can replace multiple teeth.

Dental bridges are perhaps the best tooth replacement option if you are missing anywhere between two to four teeth in a row. Unlike dental implants, you won’t need to get a single restoration for every tooth you’ve lost; one dental bridge is enough to “bridge” the gap. And if the tooth loss isn’t significant enough to require a partial denture, a dental bridge is the next best thing.

You need to remember, though, that the more missing teeth you have, the less stable a dental bridge can be, making the restoration less efficient. By using one or two implants to provide additional support for bridges that replace large numbers of teeth, dentists can often sidestep any support issues, allowing you to enjoy a long-lasting, functional prosthetic.

4. You won’t feel any discomfort when eating or speaking.

One thing dental bridges have over other restorative options that replace multiple teeth is that they don’t move when you eat, speak, or laugh. To provide effective bite support, a dental bridge is normally bonded to healthy teeth or a strong implant. This is what holds the restoration in place and keeps it from coming loose over time.

It may take you a little while to get used to having a new appliance in your mouth, but because the prosthetic won’t move around in your mouth, dental bridges are generally quite comfortable to “wear.” As long as you maintain good oral hygiene and make regular visits to the dentist, you won’t ever have to worry about hiding your smile when you laugh or avoiding certain foods because of your bridge.

5. Recovery time after a dental bridge procedure is short.

The recovery time for traditional dental bridges is not that long, and you should expect to get back to your normal routine within a few days. Even when side effects are present, they are often minor and usually only include heightened sensitivity to hot and cold stimuli as well as  pressure from biting and eating.

These symptoms, however, should quickly dissipate after the first 24 hours following the procedure. If you have any problem adjusting to your bridge, let your dentist know so you can tackle the issue together.

Find out if you are a good candidate for a dental bridge.

Just like how bridges may not work for everyone, not everyone is a good candidate for a bridge. Not to worry, though; there are several other tooth replacement options that could be a right fit for your particular situation. The only way to know for sure if you’re an ideal candidate for any specific type of restoration is to schedule an evaluation with a professional dentist.

At Monroe Family Dentistry, we offer a variety of tooth replacement options to fit any budget and aesthetic goals. We look forward to giving you your smile (and oral health) back!