Your oral health is important! It is one of the most important things you can watch to help live an overall healthy life. Do not make the mistake of thinking that this is an “all or nothing” area of life, where one mistake leads to ruin. In reality, even if you have to have a tooth extracted, today’s dentistry offers a variety of options to help make the experience a fixable one. Things like fixed bridges, for example, are often used to help restore the appearance and function of your smile after the removal of a tooth.
What is a fixed bridge?
As mentioned above, a fixed bridge is a form of the replacement tooth. If you think about the missing teeth in your mouth, you might be able to envision the gap between your remaining natural teeth and the space where your extracted tooth used to be. Something has to fill in that space to keep your mouth healthy.
A fixed bridge is a dental device used to help bridge that space. It consists of two crowns – one for each of the teeth immediately beside the gap – and a replacement tooth attached to these crowns. A fixed bridge uses your natural teeth to help support the replacement tooth, so the crowns – which can work to strengthen and support teeth – are needed.
Why might I need a fixed bridge?
Certain events could lead to you having a tooth extracted. It is important to replace the tooth as quickly as possible when this happens. You might not be aware that every tooth in your mouth serves a purpose – and when that tooth is removed, the jaw and tissue that held it in place can begin to degrade and waste away.
This can lead to changes in the structure of your jaw and your mouth, which can, in turn, affect both your appearance and your ability to do things like speak and eat normally. A fixed bridge is one way to help replace that missing tooth to keep the structure of your mouth in place.
How is the dental bridge fixed?
Patients looking to have a fixed bridge will need at least two appointments:
Abutment teeth preparation
In your first appointment, the abutment teeth will be prepared. This involves removing a small amount of enamel from the natural teeth to make room for the crowns that ultimately support your bridge.
Impressions are taken
After the abutment teeth have been prepared, impressions (molds) will be made of your mouth. We will use this to create a custom-made bridge that perfectly fits your mouth. These impressions will also be used to create the crowns that will support your bridge.
A temporary bridge is placed.
In some cases, a temporary bridge might be placed to help keep the space between the abutment teeth clear. This can also help protect the exposed enamel of the abutment teeth while you wait for your permanent bridge to be ready.
The permanent bridge is placed.
Finally, the custom-made permanent bridge will be placed in your mouth in your second appointment. The bridge will be checked for fit and then cemented into place.
You might need a few adjustments.
It is not unusual for patients to need a few adjustments made to their permanent bridge after being placed. As you begin to use the bridge, your mouth will change and adjust slightly.
Our good dentist will be able to make any necessary adjustments quickly and efficiently so that you can get back to enjoying your new smile!
If you have recently had a tooth extracted and are looking for a way to replace it, we encourage you to contact our office to learn more about fixed bridges. Our experienced team can help you decide if this is the right solution.
How long does a fixed bridge last?
A fixed bridge can last quite a bit of time. If you take care of the bridge and your crowns, then you can expect the bridge to last for at least a decade. That means that you don’t have to worry about replacing the bridge often – instead, you can enjoy the benefits that a fixed bridge offers and focus on living your life. Remember to brush and floss regularly and ask us if you have any concerns or questions about how to keep your dental bridge clean and strong.
Advantages of a fixed bridge
Fixed bridges offer patients several advantages, including:
A bridge can help restore your smile's aesthetics by filling in the gaps left behind by missing teeth. Many people feel self-conscious about gaps in their teeth, and a bridge can help to improve your confidence.
As we mentioned before, every tooth in your mouth has a purpose. When you lose a tooth, the other teeth can shift out of place. This can lead to changes in your bite and an increased risk for gum disease and other problems. A bridge helps to keep your teeth in their proper place to avoid these problems.
In addition to helping to keep your teeth in their proper place, a bridge can also help restore your ability to chew and speak properly. When you lose a tooth, it can be challenging to eat the foods you enjoy. A bridge can help make eating easier by filling in the gaps in your teeth.
A bridge is fixed in place, unlike dentures, which can sometimes slip and slide. That means eating and speaking without worrying that your teeth might slip out of place.
How do I care for my dental bridge?
Caring for a dental bridge is similar to caring for your natural teeth. Be sure to brush and floss regularly, and visit our office regularly for check-ups and cleanings. We can help you ensure that your bridge is clean and that no problems develop.
You should also eat a balanced diet and avoid chewing on hard objects, like ice. Chewing on hard objects can damage your teeth and your bridge.
Are you interested in learning more about fixed dental bridges? To find out how they can help you meet your oral health goals and restore your smile, give us a call today at (903) 231-6605!
Request an Appointment