Dental Bridges in Shreveport, LA
If you have lost a tooth, you are probably looking for the quickest way to replace it and reclaim a complete, healthy smile. One of the most common treatment options is to fill the gap with a dental bridge. Bridges are a cost-effective option that only require a few dental appointments to place. Filling the gap left by a missing tooth with a dental bridge restores an attractive smile, and prevents the remaining teeth from moving, which can lead to problems with the bite.
Types of Dental Bridges
There are a few different types of dental bridges. The type that is right for you will depend on the tooth that is missing and where it is in the mouth.
Traditional (Pontic) Bridge
The most common type of bridge is a traditional bridge, which is constructed with a false tooth (called a pontic) supported on either side by two crowns. The crowns fit over the teeth adjacent to the gap, and the pontic fits snugly into the gap.
A cantilever bridge consists of an artificial tooth attached to a crown on only one side. This is a good solution if you have lost a back molar and only have one tooth next to the gap.
Maryland (Porcelain) Bridge
A Maryland bridge is held in place with a metal or porcelain framework, which attaches to the backs of the teeth adjacent to the gap. A Maryland bridge is a great solution if you do not want the adjacent healthy teeth to be filed down to accommodate the supporting crowns. However, Maryland bridges are somewhat limited in strength and may not be a good option for teeth like the molars, which are subjected to substantial biting forces.
Another option is an implant-supported bridge, which is retained by implant posts placed in the jawbone. Implant-supported bridges offer maximum stability. The downside of implant-supported bridges is the process to place them takes a little longer than other bridges, since the implant post or posts must be surgically implanted in the jawbone.
Dental Bridge Placement Process
The process to place a traditional dental bridge typically involves two dental appointments.
During the first appointment, the teeth that are being crowned are carefully reshaped to make room for the restorations. Impressions are taken of the gap where the tooth is missing and the surrounding teeth; this information is sent to the dental laboratory that will construct the bridge. A temporary bridge is secured to the teeth to fill the empty space while the customized bridge is being made.
Once your permanent bridge is ready, the next appointment is scheduled. The provisional bridge is removed and the permanent bridge is placed to check the fit and your bite alignment. If everything fits and feels good, the permanent bridge is cemented into place.
As long as you take good care of your bridge with a diligent oral routine that includes brushing, flossing and routine dental exams, your bridge can last for years.
Dental Bridge Frequently Asked Questions
Why is it important to replace a missing tooth?
A missing tooth can affect your ability to bite and chew. It can make you self-conscious of your smile’s appearance. A missing tooth also affects nearby teeth; the teeth surrounding the gap could shift or tilt toward the space. If this happens, it can interrupt your normal bite and also increase the risk of tooth decay and gum disease.
Can I bite and chew normally with a dental bridge?
Yes. A quality dental bridge will enable you to bite, chew, speak and smile normally. To protect your bridge from breaking or cracking, Dr. Cunningham urges you to avoid biting down on hard objects, such as ice, shells, bones or pen caps.
What’s the difference between a dental bridge and dental crown?
If you have a missing tooth, a dental bridge is your best option. If you have a damaged, fractured or decayed tooth, a dental crown is the better choice.
Traditional and cantilever bridges make use of dental crowns. The crowns are placed over the natural teeth on one or both sides of the gap to hold the false tooth in place.
What are the benefits of anchoring a dental bridge with implants?
If you are missing two or more consecutive teeth, consider an implant-supported bridge.
Implant-supported bridges attach to titanium posts placed in the jaw rather than dental crowns attached to neighboring teeth. Anchoring a dental bridge with dental implant posts enhances the overall stability of the bridge. The implant posts function as tooth roots, stimulating the underlying jawbone and protecting it from atrophying. Furthermore, unlike traditional bridges, implant-supported bridges do not rely on the surrounding teeth for support, so those teeth do not need to be reshaped.
Is the procedure to place a dental bridge painful?
No. Dr. Cunningham cares about your comfort and safety. He will take the appropriate precautions to numb the treatment site prior to placing your bridge. If you feel any pain during the process, let Dr. Cunningham know immediately so he can make you more comfortable.
How long will it take to heal from the placement of my bridge?
Although your dental bridge will fit well and support a normal bite, it can take a few days to adjust.
Right after the procedure to place your bridge, you may have mild sensitivity to hot or cold temperatures or feel some sensitivity or soreness around the affected area of your mouth. These aftereffects are temporary. Eating soft foods is generally recommended if you have any discomfort. Taking an over-the-counter pain medication for a day or two can also soothe discomfort.
The process to place an implant-supported bridge is more complex and may require a longer recovery period. The majority support normal chewing function and feel acceptable from the moment they are delivered to the mouth. Dr. Cunningham and our team will explain what to expect during your initial consultation.
How long will my dental bridge last?
As long as you practice proper at-home oral hygiene and see our team regularly for exams and cleanings, you can expect your dental bridge to last 15 years or more. Flossing around the false tooth of your bridge can be tricky, and our team will recommend tools and techniques to make flossing easier.
Learn More About Dental Bridges
To learn more about replacing a missing tooth with a dental bridge, please call or email our office today.