Missing teeth can not only be an embarrassing dental problem affecting your daily life but often leads to additional complex dental problems as a result of shifting teeth and shrinkage of bone in the jaw. Providing patients with solutions to missing teeth is one of the restorative dentistry services we offer to the public.
Replacing missing teeth with the most suitable option for your dental health is the key to a comfortable result. Durham NC dentist Dr. Brent Blaylock provides several options for tooth replacement and will determine which is best for you after a thorough examination and discussion of your personal concerns, goals, and budget.
About Dental Bridges
Dental bridges can provide lasting, effective tooth replacement for patients missing one or several teeth. Dental bridges are supported on each side by either a natural tooth strengthened by a dental crown or a dental implant.
There are two types of dental bridges: removable and fixed. Dr. Blaylock recommends a fixed bridge whenever possible for the long-term benefits to both daily quality of life and oral health.
The Dental Bridge Process
Replacing missing teeth with a dental bridge will be a multi-step process.
Dr. Blaylock begins with a comprehensive evaluation to examine the health of the teeth, gums, jaw joints, and other support structures. You may have an existing dental bridge or a dentist needs to extract your teeth.
The dental bridge will be fabricated in a local dental laboratory to Dr. Blaylock’s specifications. You may have a temporary bridge to wear in the intermediate time period. In approximately 2 to 3 weeks from your initial visit, you will return to our Durham dentist office for the delivery of the final restoration.
Typically, your teeth anchor a bridge. But being an anchor leads to a lot more wear and tear on these teeth. They’re more likely to develop problems with damage or tooth decay. Dr. Blaylock recommends getting dental crowns to support these teeth as they anchor your bridge. The crowns take on the stress from the bridge instead of leaving it all on your natural teeth.
Implant-Supported Dental Bridge
If you have several consecutive missing teeth, Dr. Blaylock may suggest dental implants to support a dental bridge. Here, the series of prosthetic teeth that are linked together will be supported by dental implants instead of prepared natural teeth.
Two or more dental implants will be surgically placed in the jaw bone and allowed to heal for about three to six months. Next, Dr. Blaylock will permanently attach the bridgework to the dental implants. Implants are a better option for missing teeth because they actually replace the tooth root which reduces the chance of bone loss.
You get all of the benefits of dental implants with an implant-supported bridge. Dental implants stop the deterioration of your jawbone. You don’t have to get your bridge readjusted or replaced in the future, because your jawbone won’t continue to be deteriorating and changing. Implant-supported bridges also guarantee that you’re able to continue to eat a varied diet, without any restrictions.
Dental Bridge FAQs
How much does a dental bridge cost?
The cost of a dental bridge will depend on the number and location of the missing teeth as well as the type of bridge and materials chosen. Dr. Blaylock accepts nearly all dental insurance providers and will file electronically on your behalf for your direct reimbursement.
Are there different types of bridges?
There are actually many types of dental bridges. A traditional fixed bridge is secured to the two adjacent teeth. Cantilever bridges are similar but they only secure to one adjacent tooth. Maryland bridges rely on metal wings that will attach to the back of adjacent to remain secured in place. We can also secure a bridge with dental implants. This solution prevents bone loss and does not require damaging or placing extra stress on healthy, adjacent teeth.
Can you repair broken bridgework?
Although your dentist will build your dental bridges to last a long time, problems can still arise. If you have a dental bridge that has chipped, broken, or has come loose, you should contact our Durham dentist office right away. Depending on the extent of the damage, we may be able to cement the bridge or replace it altogether.
How do I take care of my dental bridge?
You should brush and floss your dental bridge just like natural teeth. Dr. Blaylock will show you a special technique to floss under and around the artificial tooth or teeth. It is also important to visit the dentist at least twice a year for routine examinations.
Can I take my dental bridge out?
You will not be able to remove your dental bridge once it is in place. Only a dentist can remove the dental bridge your dental since it is cemented in place. There is a removable bridge; however, this is not a permanent solution. The only time we recommend this type of dental bridge is when you are waiting on your dentist to make you a permanent dental bridge.
How long do dental bridges last?
Generally, dental bridges can last from seven to ten years. However, they may last longer or shorter depending on the individual’s oral health and lifestyle. Proper oral hygiene and avoiding hard foods that can put stress on the bridge will help it last longer.
Seeking alternative ways of replacing gaps between teeth and missing teeth? Give us a call at 919-518-9963, or request an appointment online today.