What is a dental bridge?
A dental bridge is a tooth replacement option which bridges the gap or space between your natural teeth or dental implants. Dental bridges are fixed prosthesis, meaning they are permanently affixed in your mouth and are not able to be removed. Dental bridges are used to fill a space when teeth are missing or decayed and need to be pulled.
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How does a dental bridge work?
A dental bridge works to close gaps and spaces by creating bridges between natural or artificial teeth. In order for a patient to be a candidate for a dental bridge, the patient must have a tooth on both sides of the space where the missing teeth are located. Unlike dental implants which have to be inserted beneath the gums into the bone, a dental bridge is attached or anchored on both sides by adjacent teeth. Dental bridges are a relatively painless and affordable procedure that works to make your smile more radiant and beautiful without surgery.
How is a dental bridge made?
A dental bridge is made using various materials, typically zirconia or porcelain which both mimic the look and color of real teeth. These materials come in an abundance of shades, so it’s easy for your dentist to match your surrounding dentition. Our dental bridges are metal free so you don’t have to worry about your gums developing a gray/black appearance in the future. The materials dental bridges are made of are sturdy and durable and often include a porcelain finish which allows the dental bridge to bond to natural or artificial teeth, adding additional strength to the teeth and the bridge.
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Which is best: a dental bridge or an implant?
Dental bridges and implants can both fill spaces and gaps, but the process of placing them is very different. Making the choice to place a dental bridge or implant is patient-specific, since the condition of the surrounding teeth and bone composition where the missing teeth are located often dictates which treatment option is best.
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Advantages of Dental Bridges
Dental bridges are an effective way to fill gaps and spacing without surgery. Dental bridges are also relatively painless to place and more affordable than dental implants. The treatment times to complete these two treatments also vary greatly. While dental bridges are easily completed in a few weeks, a dental implant takes four to six months before a tooth can be placed on the implant.
Is a dental bridge painful?
Your dentist will use a numbing gel and a local anesthetic when preparing your teeth for a dental bridge, which will prevent pain during the procedure. Many patients experience little to no pain during a dental bridge placement, and over-the-counter pain relief is recommended for any minor pain that occurs following the procedure.
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What does a dental bridge feel like?
Soon after placement, a dental bridge may feel slightly different, as you now have additional teeth in your mouth that you haven’t had in a while. It doesn’t take long for your gums and tongue to adapt, and the bridge will feel like a part of you in no time. After your dental bridge is placed, your dentist can make additional adjustments if your bite doesn’t feel natural.
How long does a dental bridge last?
A dental bridge typically lasts between 5 and 15 years with good home care and scheduled hygiene maintenance. If your dental bridge is not properly cared for, discoloration, damage, and unattachment can occur. If, however, regular brushing, flossing, and dental checkups are done, it’s not uncommon for dental bridges to last more than 15 years.
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Can dental bridges be removed or repaired?
If you have a dental bridge, it’s important to schedule routine dental checkups so your dentist can evaluate your prosthesis to ensure no adjustments or repairs need to be made. Your dental provider will need to ensure your dental bridge is comfortable and is in alignment with your other teeth. This can also help prolong the life of your dental bridge. If your dental bridge needs to be replaced or repaired, the process is relatively simple..
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What to Expect When Getting a Dental Bridge
Having a dental bridge placed is a relatively painless and simple procedure, so there’s no need for anxiety or concern. Here’s what it’s like to have a custom dental bridge made and placed.
1. Your dentist will create a custom dental bridge just for you.
One of the benefits of your dentist using CAD/CAM technology is that your dental bridge will be custom fitted to you, which looks and feels totally natural. Because dental bridges are created using porcelain materials, they mimic the look of natural teeth and can add radiance to your natural smile and give you the confidence to show off your pearly whites.
2. Your dentist can make adjustments if needed.
You may be wondering what a dental bridge will feel like. The reality is that a dental bridge is filling a gap or space in which nothing existed before, so it may take a few days to get used to the feeling of more teeth, but your smile will be the more beautiful for it. If for any reason your dental bridge does not feel comfortable after a couple of weeks, your dentist can make adjustments to ensure your smile looks and feels beautiful.
3. You should not experience a lot of pain from a dental bridge.
As with any dental procedure, you may experience some soreness of the jaw or minor pain following the placement of a dental bridge. The soreness is usually from the injections and not from the bridge itself. Unlike dental implants, placing a dental bridge doesn’t require surgery. Because the area in which a dental bridge is placed is numbed during the procedure, you should not feel a significant amount of pain, and any residual pain can be treated with over-the-counter pain relief, so no prescription pain relievers are necessary.
4. Enjoy your new smile for years to come.
With proper dental care like daily brushing and flossing and routine visits to the dentist for checkups and cleanings, your dental bridge can last as long as 15 years. If adjustments need to be made, it’s easy to do so.
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This article was reviewed by Dr. Miles Moore of Memphis Center for Family and Cosmetic Dentistry. Dr. Moore is a Fellow of the International Congress of Oral Implantologists who has received extensive training in implant dentistry. He is a member of multiple dental organizations, including the American Dental Association, the American Academy of General Dentistry, the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry, and the Memphis Dental Society.