in Houston TX
What are dental bridges?
Dental bridges are restorative fixtures custom-made to enable a patient to feel confident and enjoy functional chewing and optimal dental health. This restoration gets its name for its ability to physically bridge a gap between two teeth.
In most situations, a bridge has two or more crowns. The exception is the cantilever bridge that is used to replace a posterior molar at the very back of the mouth. The pontic, or artificial tooth, is an integral part of the bridge. This is what sits in the gap. The pontic “floats” over the gums and is fixed in place by the crowns on each side.
How is a Porcelain Bridge placed?
Once it is determined that you are a good candidate for the bridge procedure, your dentist will reshape the natural teeth that sit next to space where a tooth has been lost. It is necessary to reduce the anchor teeth so dental crowns can be made to fit comfortably over them without affecting your bite. Because tooth reshaping is done with a vibrating dental drill, patients are pre-treated with a local anesthetic. This makes the process painless.
In instances of a single missing tooth, the bridge will consist of three pieces, two crowns and a pontic. When more than one tooth is missing, additional pontics are added in between the two dental crowns. In such instances, additional teeth may need to be crowned, as well, to add stability to the overall structure.
Dental crowns and pontics are usually made in a laboratory. Therefore, the dentist must take impressions using a dental putty. The impressions are made into a 3D model of the area of the mouth being treated. This model guides the fabrication of dental restorations so they fit well over teeth and also fit naturally against opposing teeth when you chew.
After teeth are reduced and impressions are taken, temporary fixtures may be cemented over teeth to wear until the final restorations are ready. This prevents unnecessary risks and promotes optimal comfort between visits.
It takes approximately two weeks for final bridges to be ready for placement. This second visit involves the removal of the temporary crowns or bridge and cleaning all temporary cement from the margins between teeth and gums. The bridge is seated into place, where it is then evaluated for size, color, and bite. Sometimes, minor adjustments are made to ensure the bridge will be comfortable and fully functional. Once the bridge fits perfectly, it is bonded to anchor teeth. The dentist or hygienist will demonstrate how to clean around and beneath the pontic.
How Long Do Bridges Last?
Dental bridges can last from 5 to 15 years. The oral care that is practiced, foods that are eaten, and avoidance of certain habits contribute to the longevity of this restorative fixture.
Porcelain Bridge Maintenance
A porcelain dental bridge is made from ultra-durable material. However, it is necessary to take very good care of this fixture so it can last as long as possible. In particular, patients must brush gently but thoroughly around their dental crowns. A special instrument must be used to clean beneath the pontic so bacteria, debris, and plaque do not accumulate in this hard-to-reach area. Patients must also carefully floss around their dental crowns to prevent plaque and tartar buildup. Plaque contains oral bacteria that can cause inflammation and infection in the gums, leading to gum recession that weakens the integrity of the crowns that anchor the bridge.
Routine dental visits are also scheduled to help patients maintain their dental bridges. Exams and cleanings should occur every six months to catch signs of gum disease or tooth decay early.
Why Use Porcelain for Dental Bridges?
Drs. Davis and Kline offer porcelain bridges because this material mimics the reflective nature of natural enamel. Dental porcelain is specially made to retain brightness, color, and integrity against the effects of daily living and eating habits. Porcelain not only looks more like natural enamel than other dental materials, but it also resists discoloration.
How Do Bridges Compare with Dental Implants?
Dental bridges are fixtures that are stabilized in the mouth by anchoring to adjacent teeth. This requires the dentist to reduce two teeth, which may otherwise be fully intact, to hold the bridge. Dental implant-retained bridges are secured to the jawbone, just like natural teeth. This is accomplished by inserting small titanium cylinders, allowing bone to grow around them, and then attaching artificial teeth via a system of abutments.
“I simply cannot write enough positive things about Smile Texas. For someone that truly hated my smile/teeth, I could not be happier with the results. If you are self-conscious about your smile, do yourself a favor and set up a consultation appointment and arrive early so you can watch the lobby video for a while. You’ll see from the video they really understand how disliking your smile has an effect on you. Take the leap and you’ll join the ranks of everyone else that “wishes they had done it years ago”.”– Stephen W.
Schedule A Consultation
A porcelain bridge can restore vibrancy and comfort to your smile. We would love to restore your smile! For more information or to schedule a consultation with our providers at Smile Texas near Houston, please call (281) 265-7645.