When you lose a tooth, you are losing more than a bit of enamel and dentin. It affects your appearance, confidence, and oral health. Patients have several excellent options for replacing missing teeth, including dental bridges. Dr. Lakshay Sharma uses premier-quality materials and aesthetic design principles for long-lasting, natural-looking results.
A dental bridge does exactly what the name implies. It spans the space left by missing teeth. The bridge’s supports are dental crowns, which are affixed to teeth on each side of the gap. Positioned between the crowns are one or several prosthetic teeth, known as pontics. These elements are fused together, creating a single unit. However, they look like separate parts. More importantly, they look and function like real teeth. Even if you have a front teeth bridge when you smile, people won’t see a dental appliance. All they will notice is beautiful, natural-looking teeth.
A dental bridge is affixed to the teeth, so you won’t need to worry about it becoming loose or slipping out of place. The most common design is held in place by two dental crowns, attached to teeth on both sides of the gap. Less commonly used types of bridges include Maryland (secured with tabs rather than crowns) and Cantilever (only attached to one tooth).
Getting a dental bridge usually takes a couple of weeks and two appointments. Dr. Sharma will prepare the abutment teeth for crowns at the first visit. He will also take impressions and X-rays as needed, then place a temporary bridge. A ceramist will create your final bridge at a dental laboratory, a process that takes a couple of weeks.
When your custom dental bridge is ready, you will return for the second appointment. At this time, your dentist will remove the temporary and try the new bridge. If it meets his (exceedingly high) standards and you are delighted, then he will cement it in place.
It depends on which teeth are being replaced and where they are in the mouth, but in general, dental bridges replace up to four teeth in a row. Trying to replace more than four teeth can cause a dental bridge to be unstable in the mouth, making a denture a better option in these cases.
Most dental bridges are placed in two appointments at Elite Smiles of Pflugerville. The first visit is to take impressions of the mouth, remove teeth if necessary, and prepare the anchor teeth to mount the bridge. Patients are fitted with a temporary bridge while their custom bridge is being made at the dental lab. When your permanent bridge is finished, you'll come back to have it permanently affixed in your mouth.
It depends on your dental insurance coverage, but most insurers will cover at least part of the cost of a dental bridge. During your consultation, we can help you review your dental insurance to determine what your out-of-pocket costs may be.
Dental bridges can typically last up to 15 years before they may need to be adjusted or replaced. With good oral hygiene and regular checkups, patients can greatly extend the functional life of their dental bridges.