What Are Dental Bridges?
At Olympus View Dental, we offer dental bridges to patients in the Salt Lake City area who have lost teeth. Tooth loss can happen for a variety of reasons, from decay to disease to injury. No matter the cause of the tooth loss, it’s important to fill in the gap to restore normal chewing function. One option is a dental bridge. The bridge replaces missing teeth with pontics (fake teeth) and is supported by attaching to the natural teeth or implants on either side of the gap. Bridges can be made from a variety of materials that differ in cost, appearance, and durability.
Why Get a Dental Bridge?
Replacing missing teeth is important for a number of reasons. The longer a tooth is gone, the more the surrounding teeth will shift towards the hole, affecting chewing and speech. The bone where the tooth was will also erode over time. Even the shape of the face is affected by missing teeth! All of this is why many people with missing teeth lose confidence in their smile. A bridge will keep your natural teeth in place and give you a smile you can be confident in.
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How Do You Create a Dental Bridge?
We start this process by altering the existing teeth on either side of the gap so that they’re capable of supporting placed dental crowns. Then, a detailed mold of the area is created that the dentist sends onto the dental lab for creation. In the meantime, our team will provide a temporary bridge so that you can become used to the fit and feel in the meantime. This restoration will also protect the recontoured teeth and exposed gum tissue from harm.
Once our office has received the permanent bridge (which takes about two weeks), you’ll be invited back to the practice for a second appointment. This new bridge will be placed securely with the help of adhesive in order to ensure a strong and long-lasting fit.
The Benefits of Dental Bridges
When the gap in your smile is filled with a dental bridge, you enjoy the following advantages:
Your smile is restored.
You can chew properly and speak clearly again.
The shape of your face is maintained because the bridge prevents bone loss in the jaw where teeth are missing.
The forces involved in chewing are distributed across the teeth in the bridge so they don’t put as much pressure on the surrounding teeth.
The bridge prevents remaining teeth from drifting towards the gap.
What Happens After I Get My New Dental Bridge?
It is likely that your new bridge will feel a little strange at first within the mouth, but after a few days, it should start to seem like your natural teeth have been restored! We strongly recommend that patients maintain a diet of soft foods early on until they’ve reached this stage; then, you can enjoy all of your favorite meals with plenty of confidence.
Long-term missing teeth can result in damage to your oral health, your smile’s ability to function, and your overall quality of life. That’s why our Olympus View Dental team hopes to help you replace them as soon as possible. Please reach out to us today to schedule your first visit!
How Long Do Dental Bridges Last?
This depends largely on how well you take care of them — anywhere from five to fifteen years. A patient who gets regular dental checkups and maintains good oral hygiene habits is much more likely to keep their dental bridge in good condition for longer than ten years.
Caring for a Bridge
The success of the bridge depends on the solid foundation the surrounding teeth provide, so it’s critical to keep those teeth healthy. This means being diligent about brushing twice a day, flossing daily, and using an antiseptic mouthwash to prevent tooth decay and gum disease. We will show you how to properly brush and floss with a bridge.
Regular cleaning appointments are important, not just because we can give you that professional deep clean, but so that we can detect any emerging dental problems early. The earlier we catch a problem, the easier (and cheaper!) the solution will be.
Another factor that goes into caring for your dental bridge is what you eat. Once you grow accustomed to the bridge, you can go back to eating the foods you enjoy, for the most part. However, some types of food present more of a problem for dental bridges and we recommend avoiding them long term:
Chewy or sticky candy can easily pull the crowns off the anchor teeth.
Hard candy or snacks like popcorn or nuts can damage the bridge.
Sugary foods increase the risk of tooth decay under the crowns.
Who Is a Good Candidate for a Dental Bridge?
Not everyone with missing permanent teeth is a good candidate for a dental bridge. The factors we’re looking for include:
Missing one or more permanent teeth in a row on the same arch.
Good overall health (meaning no severe health conditions or infections)
Remaining teeth are healthy, with a strong bone structure that will support the bridge.
Good oral health.
Keeping up with oral hygiene habits.
If you think a dental bridge might be the smile solution you’ve been looking for, get in touch with us to set up an appointment. We can determine if you’re a good candidate and get started on restoring your smile! Make sure to check the map for directions to our practice in Salt Lake City.