It’s time to bridge the gap between the smile you have, and the one you’ve always wanted. Missing or failing teeth do not have to define who you are.
A dental bridge from Charette Prosthodontics can give you the look and feel of a full and healthy mouth that functions completely as your teeth should. Dr. Charette is a prosthodontist with 3 years of additional training in the field of crowns and bridges. His knowledge and expertise in restorative and cosmetic dentistry are available here in Louisville, KY to give you your function back and allow you to confidently enjoy life to the fullest.
What is a Dental Bridge?
A dental bridge is exactly what it sounds like; a bridge to close the gaps between your teeth to completely fill in your smile. The bridge is a false tooth (or teeth) that are held in place permanently in your mouth and thus are not removable.
It is typically made of crowns on either side of the missing tooth or teeth that support the pontic (false tooth) which is cemented in place. The crowns and pontic (false tooth) are shaped and colored to blend in completely naturally with your existing teeth.
Why Is a Bridge Needed?
Your teeth are designed to work together as a team. If one member of the team isn’t able to do their job, the whole team suffers. With a gap in your mouth, it allows the surrounding teeth to move into the empty space and cause further dental problems.
You may have been born with missing teeth due to a congenital condition or you may have lost teeth due to decay, gum disease, or injury. No matter the reason, if you have a missing tooth or teeth, a dental bridge can give you back a full team of functioning teeth.
Types of Bridges We Offer
Depending on the condition of your existing teeth and gums, Dr. Charette in Louisville, KY may recommend one type of dental bridge over another. There are two main types that can fix most people’s problems.
- Implant-Supported Bridge: This is a common type of dental bridge. An implant-supported bridge consists of two implants that support three teeth. This is used when you have a gap of two or more teeth. The two ends are essentially crowns cemented or screwed into implants while the middle is the pontic (fake tooth or teeth). An implant support bridge looks, feels, and functions like natural teeth and can be brushed and flossed with the aid of a floss threader to clean under the pontic. The ability to receive an implant-supported bridge is dependent on the amount of bone that remains after a tooth has been lost or extracted. Implant crowns/bridges are not susceptible to cavities making them a great solution to patients who battle cavity formation on a regular basis. They are, however, still susceptible to gum disease. Thus, it is very important that these restorations and their foundations are cleaned on a daily basis.
- Natural Tooth Bridge: To restore a single missing tooth, we sometimes use a natural tooth bridge. During this process, the existing tooth structure is prepared down in order to create space for the bridge that will mimic a natural tooth. It is very important that there is enough natural tooth structure that remains intact in order for the tooth to properly support the dental bridge. If insufficient tooth structure remains, it is often better to extract the tooth and consider an implant-supported bridge.
Other Type of Bridges
These bridges are less common, but still can be used on a case by case basis if necessary.
- Cantilever Bridges: Used when there is reason to be conservative with the preparation of an adjacent abutment/supporting tooth. Their use is limited, but they can be a great option in the right circumstance.
- Maryland Bonded Bridges: This dental bridge is attached directly to the backside of teeth on either side of the gap. Typically, these are only used to replace missing front teeth and are meant to serve as a long term solution to provide a tooth prior to placing or restoring an implant.
In each patient case, Dr. Charette and his team in Louisville, KY will work with you to determine what type of dental bridge you’ll need at the time of your initial evaluation. They will advise you properly throughout the course of treatment and ensure that you have all the information you need to make the best decision.
Benefits of a Dental Bridge
- Restore your smile: Aesthetically, a dental bridge is well matched in color, shape, and size to the surrounding teeth. This can help to improve self-esteem and confidence in patients who are self-conscious about their missing teeth.
- Restore the ability to properly chew and speak: The bridge allows you to chew and eat normally without any gap in your jaw. The bridge itself is strong and will help you chew your food more effectively, allowing you to eat your favorite foods again. It can also help individuals to speak without inhibition because it fills in the gap in the teeth which often alters the placement of the tongue and the way sounds are made in the mouth.
- Maintain the shape of your face: When you have missing teeth, your jawline actually changes and it affects your facial structure. Over time, your jawline will suffer bone loss and your face can appear sunken. The dental bridge can help to reduce the risk of bone loss from the jaw and, therefore, maintains the shape of your face.
- Distribute the forces in your bite properly by replacing missing teeth: A gap in the jaw causes the teeth to gradually shift position and spread out. This causes a problem in the bite and can lead to further bite issues and loss of additional teeth. In contrast, when the bridge is used to replace the missing teeth, the teeth on either side are held firmly in place and the bite is supported to reduce the risk of movement and consequent problems.
Prevent remaining teeth from drifting out of position: When you have missing teeth, the surrounding teeth gradually move and shift to try and fill in the gap. This causes further and significant dental issues down the road. A dental bridge fills in this gap and allows you to maintain full functioning of all your healthy teeth.
FAQs About Bridges