Understanding General Dentistry: The Dental Bridge Procedure

Aug 1, 2015 @ 10:00 AM — by Lisbeth Bradley DDS

Close-up of a traditional bridgeDo missing teeth compromise your ability to eat and speak clearly? Are you embarrassed by the gaps in your smile? Fortunately, Dr. Bradley provides outstanding general dentistry, including custom-made dental bridges. We offer both crown-supported bridges and implant-supported bridges. These two types of restorations involve different procedures, but both will restore your beautiful smile and dental function. Dr. Bradley will examine your oral health and discuss your goals to establish the most appropriate type of bridge for you. Then, working in conjunction with our partner lab, she will provide a custom restoration made to match your smile. To learn more about the dental bridge procedure, contact our Nashville practice today.

What Is a Traditional Dental Bridge?

Both traditional and implant-supported bridges can replace one or more neighboring teeth. In this way, your restoration can improve your oral function and your appearance. It can also protect your overall oral health. If you do not replace your missing teeth, your other teeth will start to shift in your mouth. As they move to fill in the gap in your smile, your entire dental arch could move out of position.

A traditional bridge is made up of several crowns, fused together. The two crowns on the ends will attach to the healthy teeth on either side of the gap in your smile. These teeth are called abutment teeth. Entirely new teeth, or pontics, will fit inside the space. The entire bridge will closely match your other teeth, blending beautifully with your smile.

What Happens When You Receive a Traditional Bridge?

To place a traditional bridge, Dr. Bradley will first need to reshape the abutment teeth. She will remove a conservative amount of tooth material to create room for the restoration. This process will also form a stronger base for your bridge. When she has achieved the desired effect, she will take impressions of your teeth, as well as the space in your smile. These measurements will go to our partner lab, where technicians will create a restoration from advanced dental porcelain. This material is incredibly strong, and it comes in a broad range of shades. Dr. Bradley and the ceramists will choose the shade that matches your smile. While you are waiting for your bridge, you will typically wear a temporary restoration. Then, when the bridge is finished, Dr. Bradley will attach it to your teeth.

What Is an Implant-Supported Bridge?

Like a traditional bridge, an implant-supported restoration will replace several adjacent teeth. However, instead of relying on the nearby teeth for support, this type of restoration will sit on two or more implant posts. Implant-supported restorations offer additional benefits that traditional bridges cannot provide. First, they do not require alteration of your healthy teeth. Second, they are typically more stable than traditional restorations. Finally, the implant posts themselves will prevent jawbone recession, reducing your risk for additional tooth loss.

What Happens When You Receive an Implant-Supported Bridge?

Implant-supported bridges require a more extensive placement procedure. Nevertheless, like many patients, you may be willing to invest more time in exchange for the benefits of dental implants. Dr. Bradley does not place implants herself. Rather, she will refer you to a local oral surgeon who will position the metal posts in your jawbone. Healing will usually take four to six months and, during this time, we can supply a temporary bridge. When you have completely recovered, and the implants have integrated with your jawbone, Dr. Bradley will attach your custom restoration. Just like our traditional bridges, your implant-supported bridge will be a near-perfect match to your smile.

Schedule Your Restorative Consultation

Contact our office today to find out which type of bridge is right for you.

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