When you have missing or extracted teeth, restoring dental function can be as easy as getting a bridge. Roughly 6.4% of Canadians between 20 and 79 reported having no teeth of their own, but far more people are missing one or more teeth. As one of the main ways to “fill in the gaps” in dentistry, bridges are a trusted option vs implants.
Who Can Benefit from a Tooth Supported Bridge?
Anyone with missing dentition may be a good candidate for a bridge. The key thing that the dentist will look for when determining if a bridge is a good choice is whether you have healthy teeth that can support the bridge. If your dentist finds that a dental bridge isn’t an option for you, implants or dentures may be recommended. The bridge is cemented in place and requires crowns be placed on either side of the missing tooth, which acts as a support for the bridge.
Why Replacing Missing Teeth is Important
If you’ve lost a tooth or two, you may still be able to chew your food, eat properly and have no issues with your speech. But your dentition works together and is not meant to be missing. The teeth on the jaw opposite of where the missing tooth is located can start to move toward the space left by the missing tooth.
When teeth start moving toward the missing tooth gap, this can cause:
Excess stress on your jaw and teeth
A need for Invisalign or orthodontics
Bridges will help keep these spaces filled so that you never have to worry about the above issues occurring.
Types of Bridges we See in Our Langley Office
Most bridge dentistry involves placing crowns on either side of the gap left behind by the missing tooth. These teeth are considered anchoring teeth and will support the bridge. When you smile, your teeth will look real and natural.
Our staff may recommend multiple types of bridges, including:
Traditional. A fixed dental bridge. This option is the most popular in dentistry and includes using two or more crowns to add in any filler teeth. The crowns keep the bridge in place.
Implant-supported. If there is no supporting dentition or there’s a reason not to use existing teeth as a crown, implants can be used in their place using a procedure similar to the traditional crown.
Maryland dental bridge. A resin-bonded bridge, this option is most popular when you have missing front dentition. The Maryland bridge uses a dental framework for support that has “wings” on the side to bond to your existing teeth.
Cantilever. If there is only dentition present on one side of the tooth gap, a cantilever bridge is an option. This bridge requires a pontic, which connects the bridge to one tooth rather than two.
Our Langley office will spend time discussing the best bridge option for you. The right bridge will help restore your smile and reduce the risk of surrounding dentition moving towards the gap left behind.
Multiple materials may be used to construct your dental bridge, including ceramics, metal or a metal/porcelain mix.
What if You’re Not a Good Candidate for a Bridge?
If bridges are not the best option for you, there are other options to help restore your smile. A few of the options that your dentist will consider if bridges aren’t an option include:
Dentures, these are removable false teeth in dentistry and often the least expensive option.
Dental implants, which are permanent.
Implants are one of the most expensive choices when restoring lost dentition, but they’re also one of the most natural options. The dentist will make a model of your dentition, which is then sent to a local Langley dental lab so that they can create teeth that match your existing dentition and fit your dental structure.
The implantation process requires posts to be surgically implanted into your jaw. The implant will, eventually, integrate with your jawbone and be connected to your existing teeth. You don’t need supporting dentition to have implants placed.
Bridge Procedure Information
In most cases, you’ll need to go to our Langley dentist twice (possibly more) to have the bridge created and installed properly. We may also suggest teeth whitening prior to your first visit. Your appointments will involve the following:
First Visit with Us
The first visit will involve the dentist preparing your abutment teeth. Your dentition will need to be prepared for your crowns, and this includes reshaping the abutment and possibly removing some of the dentin and enamel.
For the best dentistry, we will need to make sure that there’s ample room for the bridge once it’s created. Once this procedure is done, the dentist will then take impressions or scans of your dentition. These scans or impressions are vital because they’ll be sent to a dental lab, which uses the scans or impressions to create the bridge, crowns and false teeth.
While you’re awaiting the final bridge, a temporary bridge is placed to protect the exposed areas of the mouth.
Second Visit Appointment
Your second visit is where the “dentistry magic” happens. The temporary bridge will be removed, and the permanent bridge will be put in place. You can expect your dentist to make several adjustments to ensure that the bridge fits properly.
Receiving Dental Bridges
Missing dentition can cause oral issues that go beyond basic dentistry aesthetics. Bridges offer numerous benefits, including but not limited to:
Restoring your smile and confidence
Preventing your existing teeth from moving out of place
Restoring any lost speech or chewing ability
Providing protection for root canaled teeth
And when compared to dental implants, we can offer dental bridges as a more affordable dentistry option.
Dental Bridge Risks
Dental bridges have a lot of advantages, but they’re not without treatment risks. The bridge that you have placed will need to be cleaned and cared for to last a long time. If you don’t care for the bridge properly, it will need to be replaced prematurely.
New cement may be used to re-attach a bridge if it starts to loosen and the crowns are still in good condition.
The main risks of dental bridges are:
Cement deterioration that leads to loosening
Surrounding tooth decay
It's important to follow a recommended oral hygiene routine to keep surrounding dentition healthy. If you care for your teeth and dentistry properly, they can last 5 to 7 years at a minimum. Regular cleanings and dentalcare treatment can extend the lifespan of your bridge to 10+ years and prevent any dental emergencies.
Dental Bridge FAQs for our Langley Patients
When having a bridge placed, the most common dental questions from our Langley patients are:
Is it hard to eat with a bridge?
No. Oftentimes, people find dental bridges help make eating easier.
Does replacing dentition impact oral speech?
Yes, but only in the case where your front dentition is missing. The bridge can help restore speech when front teeth are no longer present.
How do I care for bridges?
Care is easy. You'll want to follow a general dental oral hygiene routine after receiving dental bridges, such as brushing your teeth two or more times daily along with flossing. The health of your supporting teeth and good dentistry is key to long-lasting dental bridges.
Regular teeth cleanings and dental care can also help extend the lifespan of your dental bridge and prevent future root canal treatment.
When should I contact a dentist if I have issues with my bridge?
If your bite doesn’t feel right or chewing suddenly becomes difficult, small adjustments can be made by the dentist that can correct the dental issue. You should contact a dentist or healthcare professional immediately if you notice bleeding from the bridge, swelling or experiencing pain.
Can clenching or grinding prematurely wear away teeth and bridges?
Yes absolutely. Dr. Sidhu is also able to administer Botox therapeutic to address issues that can cause premature tooth wear including headaches, jaw pain, temporomandibular disorder (TMD), bruxism, clenching, and masseter hypertrophy.
Dental Bridges vs Implant Crowns
If you’re considering a bridge or dental implants, it’s important to know the pros and cons of each treatment before making your decision:
Dental bridges are a great option for anyone with missing dentition who wants to restore their normal smile and prevent the risk of opposing tooth movement. Contact us today to book an appointment or for more information.