Bridges

woman with bridgeOur dentists at Family Dentistry and Aesthetics use dental bridges to correct the gaps left from missing teeth. This procedure enhances the appearance of your smile and restores function. When the gap from missing teeth is left untreated, crowding can occur which can lead to bacteria build up, eventually causing gum disease and cavities. It’s important to replace gaps in order to maintain good oral health. Drs. Thomas T. Teel and Thomas M. Gilbert have linked jaw pain (temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder) with missing teeth, as well.

Your smile says a lot about you, which makes it imperative that you replace missing teeth so that your smile is beautiful. At our dental office, patients have the option of attaching their custom-made bridge to crowns or dental implants. If you struggle with which attachment is best for you, our experienced doctors can lend a hand with this important decision.

Why Do I Need a Bridge?

Patients need a dental bridge when they have multiple missing teeth or when the space from missing teeth has caused crowding. The space left from a missing tooth is more susceptible for infection. Crowded teeth are harder to clean, which means bacteria and plaque accumulate between the teeth and lead to undesirable oral health conditions. Crowding can also put stress on jaw joints, leading to TMJ disorder, which causes headaches, neck/shoulder stiffness, migraines, and excruciating discomfort.

Along with functional reasons for having a dental bridge created, there are cosmetic benefits as well. The space left from missing teeth can ruin your smile appearance, which is often the first thing others notice about you. A toothy smile makes you appear healthier and enhances confidence. If you’re embarrassed about the unattractive gap in your smile, speak with one of our experienced dentists about having a dental bridge bonded over the space.

What Is a Dental Bridge?

A dental bridge is a prosthetic device that corrects the space left from multiple missing teeth. Each end of the device attaches to a dental crown, with pontic teeth (prosthetic teeth) in between. For a more permanent solution, the device can attach to dental implants. Bridges are custom made for each patient and are designed to appear natural. Pontic teeth are often created from porcelain, which makes them stain-resistant and tooth-colored.

Possible Attachments

Most commonly, we will attach your customized bridge to crowns. We will place a crown over the teeth on either side of the gap. This allows for secure attachment and long lasting results. Crowns are created to completely cover a tooth and resemble the appearance of natural teeth. The downside to attaching your bridge to crowns is that a thin layer of tooth enamel is removed to create a smooth surface for the restoration.

Crowns are custom created in a lab for each patient. You can expect a tooth colored cap that will entirely cover the natural tooth. Along with providing attachment for a dental bridge, a crown effectively corrects weakened, broken, and otherwise severely damaged teeth. The restoration is used to regain full function of your tooth, as well as improve cosmetic appearance and oral health.

Many patients want to affix their bridge to dental implants for a sturdier attachment. During this procedure, Drs. Teel and Gilbert will create a small incision in the gums and surgically imbed the titanium implant into healthy jawbone. Once the implants have fully merged with bone, tissues, and gums (usually four to six months), an experienced doctor will permanently bond each side of the bridge to an implant.

Implant-retained bridges are ideal for long term tooth replacement, however candidacy can be strict. A good implant candidate doesn’t smoke and has a strong, healthy jawbone. Depending on your unique situation, bone grafting can be completed to prepare the bone for implant surgery. In such cases, we will refer you to a specialist.

Are you ready to improve your appearance and oral health, as well as regain full function of your teeth? If so, call 260-432-0561 today to schedule an appointment with Drs. Teel and Gilbert in Fort Wayne, IN. We look forward to hearing from you.