If you have a tooth pulled or are missing a tooth, you need to make arrangements for a replacement. Not replacing a missing tooth can result in all sorts of problems — from changing the shape of your face to altering the way that you chew.
When you have one or more teeth missing, one of your options is to get a dental bridge. You do have alternatives, including partial dentures and dental implants, but many people find that a dental bridge is a great solution. In this blog, Dr. Thomas D. Sokoly of Sokoly Dental explains more about what dental bridges are, when you should get one, and how to care for them.
What is a dental bridge?
A dental bridge is a structure that replaces a missing tooth or several teeth in a row. The bridge holds prosthetic teeth that fill in the empty space. It’s permanent, which gives it a great advantage over partial dentures.
To affix the bridge in place, we file down the two teeth on each side of the empty space to allow for placement of the prosthetic cap that looks like a natural tooth. The end result looks and functions just like real teeth.
Dental bridges are usually made of porcelain, but sometimes they can be made of other alloys instead.
Dental bridges can include implants
If you want to get a dental implant to replace a missing tooth, that’s a great solution. Dental implants use tiny titanium screws implanted in your jaw, which then fuse with your jawbone. This creates a permanent, stable root, which is then covered with a crown.
You can get a dental implant to replace a missing tooth and then get a bridge as well. It’s similar to a regular bridge but is supported by the implant restoration.
Factors to consider
Not everyone is a perfect candidate for dental implants or a dental bridge. You need to have a consultation with Dr. Sokoly to determine how well one of these solutions would work for you.
If you’re missing teeth due to having a tooth knocked out, it’s a different circumstance than if you lost teeth due to gum disease. If you have gum disease, your teeth may not have a healthy enough foundation for dental implants or dental bridges.
How long dental bridges last
Usually, dental bridges last for 5-7 years. However, with good oral hygiene, dental bridges can last for 10 years or even more.
You still need to brush your teeth at least twice a day. Flossing underneath dental bridges is also critical, but it can require different techniques to do so. A bridge doesn’t go all the way down to your gums, so flossing is very important.
You have the following three options for flossing underneath dental bridges:
Use a threader
A special device called a dental floss threader uses regular dental floss and loops it through the threader to fit under your bridge.
Products like Superfloss®
Superfloss is a type of dental floss that’s thicker at one end and has a pointed tip. The pointed tip is designed to go underneath your bridge, and the thicker floss gets under your bridge.
You can also use water flossers, such as a Waterpik®. A flosser uses battery power to spray jets of water between your teeth. It removes all the food debris and plaque from in between your teeth and also cleans your gums.
If you’re missing a tooth, you should schedule a consultation with Dr. Thomas Sokoly at Sokoly Dental. Contact him or make an appointment online.