Complete Your Smile with Beautiful Dental Bridges
Dental bridges replace missing teeth and teeth that are too badly damaged for crowns or fillings. They help hold remaining teeth in proper alignment and keep natural teeth from bearing too much stress from biting and chewing. This is one of the most common dental procedures for filling a gap in a patient’s smile, and Dr. Ben Ahlbrecht can place incredibly lifelike dental bridges for you from his Indianapolis practice. Contact North Meridian Dental Excellence to schedule your consultation today.
What is a Dental Bridge?
Dental bridges are a commonly recommended treatment for replacing one or more missing teeth with realistic prosthetics. Although adult tooth loss in the U.S. is decreasing overall, a high percentage of people do lose one or more teeth to gum disease, cavities or fracture at some point. According to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, adults lose an average of one-to-two permanent teeth (not counting wisdom teeth) before the age of 50.
Why Choose Dental Bridges?
Having a gap in your smile can make you feel self-conscious about your appearance. A missing tooth can do more than just impact your looks, though. Each tooth in your mouth plays an important role in keeping the rest of your teeth in line. When you lose a tooth, the teeth on either side can begin drifting out of alignment. So, even if you lose a back tooth that no one usually sees, you could end up with crooked front teeth, unless you have your smile repaired. This type of restoration allows you to bite and chew normally again. It can also help correct speech problems associated with missing teeth.
Who is a Candidate for Dental Bridges?
This treatment is designed for patients who have a badly damaged or missing tooth that can’t be restored with a crown or filling. Candidates with good dental hygiene habits are the best candidates. Poor brushing and flossing habits can lead to premature failure of these dental prosthetics due to gum disease and cavities in surrounding teeth. Bridges can be used to restore one, two or three missing teeth in a row. However, some patients with several missing teeth may be better candidates for a partial denture, which can be traditional or supported by implants. Patients with a single missing tooth may opt for a dental implant instead of a bridge in some circumstances.
Traditional Dental Bridge
A traditional bridge requires the presence of a healthy tooth on either side of the gap to support the prosthesis. This bridge consists of three crowns that are all attached to each other. The crown in the middle is actually called a “pontic” and is the prosthetic that replaces the missing tooth. The two on either side are regular crowns that fit over existing teeth called the abutment teeth. Porcelain and porcelain fused to metal (PFM) are the most common materials used for these dental bridges.
Treatment Overview for Traditional Dental Bridges
Placement of a dental bridge is a two-stage process. After a consultation, oral health examination and x-rays, the two abutment teeth are prepared to support the bridge. An impression (mold) will be made and a life-like acrylic temporary bridge will be placed, so the patient will look and feel great while the lab is fabricating the custom permanent bridge.
The second visit involves an in-depth fitting of your permanent bridge. It is adjusted for maximum comfort and function. You may wear the bridge with a temporary adhesive for a while, to make sure it fits just right. Then it will be permanently cemented in with an extremely strong dental resin cement. During your fitting, you will receive detailed instructions for cleaning and flossing around the bridge to make sure bacteria and food don’t build up in any small gaps or crevices. A bridge can last for many years with proper care, keeping your smile even and attractive.
More Information about Dental Bridges
Dr. Ben Ahlbrecht performs several other types of dental bridges that may be more suitable for some patients. These include:
Cantilever Dental Bridge
This type of bridge is similar to a traditional bridge. However, it is used when there is no support tooth available on one side of the missing tooth (e.g., with a missing back molar). Instead, two crowns are placed directly next to each other and the pontic is on the end. Some cantilever bridges use only one crown plus the pontic.
Resin Bonded Dental Bridge
This type of bridge uses metal bands and dental bonding resin to attach a pontic to adjacent teeth. The metal bands are positioned on the backside of the support teeth to make them less noticeable. This approach does not require extensive preparation of the adjacent teeth, since they do not receive crowns. A resin bonded or “Maryland” bridge is sometimes used for restoring front teeth.
Implant Supported Dental Bridges
Patients with good jaw bone density are often candidates for smile restoration with implant-supported bridges that replace two or more teeth. One or more titanium implants are placed directly in the jawbone, where they fuse with the bone during healing. The implants are finished with porcelain crowns for a very natural appearance. This is the sturdiest type of crown since it most closely mimics the performance of a real tooth.
"North Meridian Dental Excellence is great! They've somehow cracked the code on making a trip to the dentist an enjoyable experience. Dr. Ahlbrecht and his team are all great to work with. Everyone is extremely friendly, nice and fun, while maintaining a professional, clean and private environment."Nick E.