Bridging Gaps, Building Confidence
A dazzling smile is a universal symbol of confidence and well-being. However, when faced with missing teeth, this confidence can take a hit. Dental bridges emerge as stalwart allies in restorative dentistry, mending the gaps and revitalizing smiles. Our Wilmington and Seaford, DE, restorative dentists, Drs. Paul E. Brown and Christopher S. Baran can restore your smile with custom dental bridges.
Read our guide to learn about dental bridges and see if they may benefit your smile. If you have any questions or want to schedule an appointment, call our Wilmington, DE office at (302) 999-7600 or our Seaford, DE office at (302) 536-7589.
What Are Dental Bridges?
Dental bridges are prosthetic devices crafted to bridge the gap created by missing teeth. Consisting of three primary components—the pontic (artificial tooth), abutment teeth (supporting natural teeth on either side of the gap), and dental crowns—the bridge is a seamless integration of aesthetics and functionality.
The functionality of dental bridges lies in their ability to restore not just the appearance of a complete smile but also the functionality of natural teeth. The pontic replaces the missing tooth, while the abutment teeth, often crowned, provide support and stability to the entire structure.
Types of Dental Bridges
Dental bridges come in various forms, each designed to address specific dental scenarios and patient needs.
- Traditional Dental Bridges:
- Fixed Dental Bridges: The most common type, comprising pontics anchored by dental crowns on adjacent natural teeth. Ideal for cases where the neighboring teeth are strong and healthy.
- Cantilever Dental Bridges: Utilizes only one adjacent natural tooth for support. Suited for situations where there is only one healthy adjacent tooth.
- Maryland Bridges: Also known as resin-bonded bridges. Resin wings on each side bond to the back of adjacent teeth. A conservative option, preserving more natural tooth structure.
- Implant-Supported Bridges: Secured in place by dental implants rather than natural teeth. This restoration offers exceptional stability and prevents bone loss in the jaw. Suitable for those with multiple missing teeth or insufficient natural teeth for support.
Benefits of Dental Bridges
Dental bridges offer a range of advantages, such as:
- Restoration of Aesthetics: Bridges effectively fill gaps, restoring a natural and appealing smile.
- Improved Chewing Function: Bridges enhance the ability to bite and chew, preventing strain on surrounding teeth.
- Preservation of Facial Structure: By preventing adjacent teeth from shifting, bridges help maintain the natural contours of the face.
- Boost in Confidence: A complete smile often leads to increased self-esteem and confidence.
- Cost-Effective Option: Compared to some alternatives, dental bridges are often more budget-friendly.
Candidacy for Dental Bridges
Determining whether dental bridges are the right solution involves a thorough evaluation by your qualified Delaware dentist. Your dentist will perform a comprehensive examination of oral health, including the condition of remaining teeth and gums. We’ll also assess the bone density to ensure ample support for the bridge.
Here are the considerations for bridge placement:
- Oral Health: Healthy gums and teeth are crucial for the success of dental bridges. Any existing oral health issues may need to be addressed before bridge placement.
- Bone Density: Sufficient bone density in the jaw is necessary to support the dental bridge. In cases of bone loss, additional procedures like bone grafting may be recommended.
- Patient’s Overall Health: Certain systemic conditions may affect the suitability of dental bridges. A collaborative approach with other healthcare providers may be required in such cases.
Dental Bridge Procedure
The process of obtaining a dental bridge involves several steps, ensuring a precise fit and long-term success.
During this visit, our Delaware dentists will perform a thorough examination and discuss your oral health and treatment goals. We may take X-rays and impressions to assess the condition of the teeth and jawbone.
If dental crowns are part of the bridge, the abutment teeth are prepared by removing a small amount of enamel. This step ensures a proper fit for the crowns and facilitates a seamless integration of the bridge.
After preparing the area, we take detailed impressions of the prepared teeth and surrounding structures. These impressions serve as the blueprint for crafting the custom dental bridge.
Temporary Bridge Placement
While the permanent bridge is being fabricated, a temporary bridge may be placed to protect the exposed teeth and maintain functionality. We advise patients to be cautious with temporary bridges and adhere to any specific care instructions.
Final Bridge Placement
With the custom crowns ready, your dentist removes the temporary crown and will meticulously check the final bridge for fit and aesthetics. From there, we’ll permanently bond the bridge to your teeth using a secure adhesive. You’ll leave the dental office with a radiant smile that reflects the meticulous craftsmanship and artistry invested in your dental bridge.
Aftercare and Maintenance
Ensuring the longevity and functionality of dental bridges requires dedicated aftercare and maintenance.
- Oral Hygiene Practices: Regular brushing and flossing are crucial to maintaining oral health around the bridge. Specialized brushes or floss threaders may be recommended to clean hard-to-reach areas.
- Regular Dental Check-ups: Routine dental check-ups are essential for monitoring your bridge’s condition and addressing any potential issues promptly. Professional cleanings help prevent the buildup of plaque and ensure the longevity of the restoration.
- Addressing Potential Complications: Awareness of potential issues, such as decay or loosening of the bridge, is vital. Any signs of discomfort, pain, or changes in the bridge’s fit should be reported to the dentist promptly.
Frequently Asked Questions
The placement of dental bridges is typically not painful as it’s performed under local anesthesia. Patients may experience some mild discomfort or sensitivity during the recovery period, but this can be managed with over-the-counter pain medication.
The lifespan of dental bridges varies depending on factors such as oral hygiene, maintenance, and the type of bridge. On average, dental bridges can last between five to 15 years or even longer with proper care.
Yes, dental bridges can be designed to replace multiple missing teeth. In such cases, the bridge may involve more pontics and require additional support, potentially through implant-supported bridges.
Gum disease may need to be treated before getting dental bridges. Healthy gums are crucial for the success of the procedure. Your dentist will assess your oral health and recommend any necessary treatments.
Unlock Your Radiant Smile Today!
If you’re ready to transform your missing teeth into a radiant, complete smile, schedule a consultation with our experienced dental team. We are here to answer any remaining questions, address concerns, and guide you through the personalized journey to a lasting and confident smile.
Call our Wilmington office at (302) 231-3100 or our Seaford office at (302) 404-0700. You can also fill out our convenient contact form below. We proudly serve people who reside in Pike Creek, Marshallton, and Stanton, DE areas.