Dental Bridges, Searcy AR
WHAT IS A DENTAL BRIDGE?
A dental bridge is essentially three (or more) crowns hooked together with the middle tooth (or teeth) “hovering” and filling in the gap where a tooth is missing (see picture above). The two adjacent teeth to the missing tooth will be filed down slightly in order to fit the protective covering offered by the bridge over them.
DO I NEED A DENTAL BRIDGE?
The only reason you would be in need of a dental bridge would be if you have a missing tooth that needs to be replaced. There are other options for replacing missing teeth. However, a bridge is the most common option used. Not only is it the most convenient way to replace a tooth, but it also includes the benefit of crowning the teeth next to the missing tooth. This is especially nice when the adjacent teeth are already in need of a crown. To find out if one of your teeth is in need of a crown, click here to be directed to our Dental Crowns page.
ARE THERE OTHER OPTIONS TO REPLACING A MISSING TOOTH (OR TEETH)?
Nesbit Partial- If you are only missing a single tooth, a Nesbit partial is an option. Nesbit partials connect to the two adjacent teeth with metal clasps and will snap in and out. The only time you may not want to use a Nesbit partial is if your missing tooth is one of your front teeth, this is because of the metal clasps. While nebit partials are a convenient alternative, because they do come in and out, most patients opt for a bridge as a more permanent option.
Dental Implant- A single dental implant is used to replace a single missing tooth. While we do not place the implants themselves, we have an oral surgeon we refer our patients to for this procedure. Once the patient has received the implant, we make the dental crown that is placed on top of the implant.
Partial denture- A partial denture can be used to replace one or many teeth. A partial denture is generally only used when a patient is missing more than more than a single tooth. Partials dentures are flexible and are made with a pink acrylic to match the look of natural gums. Similar to the Nesbit partial, most patients will opt to get a bridge over a partial denture. This is because a bridge does not come in and out of the mouth as a partial denture does. Click here to learn more about Partial Dentures.
WHAT IS THE PROCESS OF GETTING DENTAL BRIDGE?
Your first appointment:
As with most of our dental procedures, in order to provide the most comfortable experience, we will use a numbing agent before we begin.
An impression will then be taken of the current state of your adjacent teeth to make your temporary crown.
Once you are completely numb and ready for us to begin, we start preparing the teeth. This preparation involves removing the enamel (the outer covering of your tooth) and placing a cord that isolates the gums from the tooth.
Once the teeth have been carefully prepared for a bridge, we will take a secondary impression of the tooth to send over to our lab.
At the end of your appointment, we will apply your temporary bridge, which you will wear for two weeks while our lab is crafting your permanent bridge. During those two weeks, there is a proper way in which you should be caring for your tooth. Please reference the column below for information on how to care for your tooth following your first appointment.
Your second appointment:
The process of placing your permanent bridge is very simple and generally only takes a few minutes to accomplish. We start by removing your temporary bridge and properly cleaning away any excess glue or trapped debris. Once your bridge has been evaluated and approved for placement, we will permanently cement your dental bridge.
BEFORE YOU GET A DENTAL BRIDGE
Before making an appointment to get a dental bridge, we recommend you make sure that you will not be leaving town for two weeks following the procedure. This is because you will be wearing a temporary bridge, for that amount of time, while our lab crafts your permanent one. Occasionally these temporary bridges break or come off. If this happens, there is no need to be alarmed; however, it is best that you come in to let us make you a new temporary to wear until your permanent one has been placed. To prevent a temporary dental bridge from coming off, we recommend eating on the opposite side of your mouth, especially when it comes to food that is hard or sticky. We also suggest you do not floss the temporary dental bridge.
AFTER YOU GET A DENTAL BRIDGE
Once your permanent dental bridge has been seated, it is expected that you will continue to feel mild to moderate cold sensitivity for the next few weeks. This may continue up to a couple months. It is expected that the sensitivity should continually lessen. If it persists longer than a couple months or gets progressively worse, we ask that you contact us to set up an appointment so that we can further evaluate your teeth. It is also possible, once you leave our office with your permanent bridge, that you will need further adjustments to correct occlusion (the way your teeth come together). It is our priority, as well as the priority of our lab, to provide a custom fit, and to keep your natural occlusion. However, it is nearly impossible to get the occlusion perfect every time. In the event that your crown is slightly out of occlusion, you will require a simple adjustment or two to correct it.
OTHER BRIDGE CARE
Lastly, but certainly not least, there is a proper way in which you should floss your new dental bridge. You may already floss this way, but in the event that you do not, it is important when flossing a dental bridge that you push floss into gums, then pull straight out (versus pushing the floss into the gums and pulling back out in a way the pulls on the bridge). The cement we use to permanently seat a bridge is very strong, however, if you continue to floss in a way that tugs on the bridge, with enough years this could wear the cement out and then you will need to come in for us to reseat it for you.
WHAT DO I DO IF MY TEMPORARY BRIDGE COMES OFF?
If this happens there is no need for alarm. All you need to do is come back in to let us make you a new temporary dental bridge. If this happens while we are out of the office, we recommend putting a drop of Vaseline into the temporary bridge and placing it back on your teeth. This should hold up long enough for you to make it back into our office. We understand that the temporary bridge may break beyond being able to replace it yourself. This is why we strongly recommend that you do not eat on the side with your temporary bridge. However, if this does happen and you are forced to go a couple days without a covering on that teeth, make sure you maintain good oral hygiene and make an appointment to come in as soon as possible. What makes these temporary bridges so important goes beyond insulating the tooth from cold sensitivity. They are also used to hold the teeth in place. Without it, the teeth may be prone to a movement that may prevent the permanent bridge from fitting tightly.