If you’ve lost teeth due to accident, injury, or gum disease, a permanent bridge can restore your solid smile. A bridge not only fills the gap, but it also prevents repositioning of remaining teeth. It can also correct a misaligned bite, improve chewing function and speech articulation, and provide internal structure for the face to give you a more youthful appearance.
We provide fixed dental bridges in Virginia Beach as a good alternative to partial dentures. For some patients, dental implants are also an option. Because the placement of an implant requires oral surgery and several months of healing time, implants aren’t right for everyone. A bridge can fill the gap in your smile without surgery and in just two dental visits.
What is a Fixed Bridge?
A bridge is a prosthetic tooth (or teeth) that attaches on one or both sides to teeth prepared with dental crowns. A fixed bridge is permanently joined onto the neighboring abutment teeth (crowned teeth) and consists of three basic units: the false tooth or teeth (called a pontic) and two abutment crowns. The style of bridge we suggest will depend upon the strength and health the abutment teeth, as well as the location of the gap in relation to the rest of your dentition. With proper care, a fixed bridge may last at least 8 to10 years.
If healthy adjacent abutment teeth aren’t available, a surgically-implanted metal post, known as a dental implant, may offer a solid alternative. The placement of the post requires a surgical procedure. It then takes several months for the implant to fuse with your own bone tissue, making it strong enough to support an artificial tooth. For those who don’t want to commit to this process or for whom it’s too expensive, dental bridges are an alternative. For a bridge that replaces many teeth, we may recommend a removable partial denture or implant-supported prosthesis, depending on your situation.
The Placement of a Dental Bridge
The process of getting a dental bridge in Virginia Beach is similar to the process of getting a single dental crown. At your first appointment, the teeth next to the gap, which will be used to support the bridge, will be prepared to receive their crowns. This involves removing some of the enamel from the tooth, to make room for the crown. Next, images and impressions will be taken of your mouth. These will be sent to the laboratory, where the permanent bridge will be created. A temporary bridge, made of acrylic, will be placed over the area to protect it while you’re waiting for the permanent crown to be created.
At your next visit, your dentist will place the permanent crown. Before cementing it into place, he or she will check the fit, to ensure that your bite is aligned and the crown feels right. Sometimes, the crown is cemented with temporary cement to allow you to wear it for a couple of weeks and make sure you’re happy with it. If you like the way it feels, then it will be cemented in permanently. If you need any changes, your dentist will request a new crown to be created by the lab, and then will cement that one in temporarily to check it. This process can be repeated several times in order to get the right fit.
Dentist in Virginia Beach
If you’re missing one or more teeth, we would be happy to discuss dental bridges in Virginia Beach. Our expert cosmetic dentist, Dr. Mary Lewis, will examine you, and then tell you about your options and what their advantages and disadvantages would be, so that you can make the most informed decisions about your dental care. To book your complimentary consultation, please call our office.