Many people will have to deal with the unfortunate issue of adult tooth loss at some point in their lives. Tooth loss may be caused an accident, tooth decay, excessive wear and tear and many other issues. Some people even choose to have adult teeth pulled for cosmetic reasons, such as if they are severely chipped or crooked. After losing one or more teeth, many adults feel embarrassed about their personal appearance. There are also physical challenges and health concerns related to the loss of adult teeth. With this in mind, you may be eager to find effective solutions to address this concern. Dental bridges are one of several possible treatments that could be effective for you, and a closer look at what they are and how they can benefit you may help you to determine if this is a treatment option that you want to pursue.
What Are Dental Bridges and Why Do You Need to Know about them?
A dental bridge is appropriately named because it essentially creates a bridge through the gap in your smile. Dental bridges consist of two crowns on the teeth on either side of the gap. These crowns serve as anchors for the bridge. The actual bridge between the crowns is the false tooth, or there may be a couple of false teeth in the bridge. The false teeth material is usually durable porcelain, and they must look as much like the natural teeth as possible. In fact, with a porcelain bridge, other people may not be able to tell that the tooth or teeth are not your natural teeth. The false teeth may also be made out of gold or other materials upon request.
You should be aware that there are three types of bridges that your dental professional may choose to treat you with. The exact treatment that your dental professional recommends may rely on the specific oral health concerns and challenges that you are dealing with. A traditional bridge uses crowns on either side of the replacement tooth or teeth, as described previously. An alternative is a cantilever bridge. With a cantilever bridge, the replacement tooth or teeth rely on only one crown on an adjacent tooth. A third type of bridge would be the Maryland bonded bridge. A Maryland bonded bridge uses a metal wing that adheres to your adjacent teeth, and plastic replacement teeth connect to this metal piece. Specialists don’t usually rely on porcelain and gold for this type of bridge.
Why Would You Need Dental Bridges?
You may be wondering why you need bridges, and there are multiple reasons why you should consider seeking this type of treatment to address your tooth loss concerns. For example, with a replacement tooth, you can smile confidently and enjoy the beauty of a full set of healthy-looking teeth. You may also find that speaking clearly and eating are easier to do when you have a full mouth of teeth.
Tooth loss can cause facial deformation because of issues related to bone loss. When you are missing teeth, the neighboring teeth may shift, and this can cause additional cosmetic and physical issues. In addition, cavities and decay may be more likely on adjacent teeth. Getting a replacement tooth, such as through a bridge, can prevent these issues from developing. Remember that some of these issues can cause further issues with your physical appearance and may require even more money to correct through significant treatments.
Other Things You Need to Know About Dental Bridges
Before you decide to use bridges as a dental treatment for your tooth loss issue, there are a few additional things that you need to know about. For example, this treatment requires you to visit your dental professional’s office at least two times. However, unlike implants, this treatment is not a surgical procedure that requires significant healing time. During the first visit for this type of treatment, you will get a temporary bridge in your mouth to prevent unnecessary damage from occurring before getting the permanent bridge.
The dentist makes the replacement tooth specifically for your mouth, and they will place it in your mouth during the second appointment. You may need additional appointments to adjust the fit of the replacement tooth for comfort and functionality. Keep in mind that a bridge will usually need to be replaced in approximately ten to 15 years, but there is some variation to this based on how well you care for your teeth and gums.
Helpful Tips When Living With Dental Bridges
For the first few days after you get the bridge in your mouth, you should plan to eat soft foods and to cut firm foods up into small pieces. This will help you get familiar with having the bridge in your mouth. Because your bridge relies on one or two adjacent teeth, the health and condition of these teeth matter for the longevity of your bridge. Plan to brush and floss at least twice per day. A good idea is to brush after every meal. You should also clean underneath the replacement tooth at least once each day. Food can stay in this area, and it can cause gum disease and other issues.
Visiting the dentist at least twice per year for regular oral hygiene exams is also essential for the care of dental bridges. Your dentist or hygienist can ensure that tartar does not build up on the replacement tooth, adjacent teeth or on other teeth. These various oral hygiene steps can also help you to avoid developing a problematic issue with bad breath.
Summing It Up
A dental bridge is one of several options available for treating tooth loss. There are pros and cons associated with all treatments that you may be considering. Through proper education about bridges and other options and through a consultation with your dental team, you can make a thoughtful decision that is in your best interest.
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