Dental Bridges

Dental bridges are fixed prosthetic devices used to replace one or more missing teeth by bridging the gap between adjacent natural teeth or dental implants. Comprising artificial teeth, called pontics, supported by dental crowns affixed to the neighboring teeth or implants, bridges restore the smile's function and aesthetics.

Bridges help maintain proper alignment, prevent adjacent teeth from shifting, and improve chewing ability and speech clarity by filling in the empty spaces left by missing teeth. Custom-designed to match the color, shape, and size of natural teeth, dental bridges seamlessly blend in with the surrounding dentition, providing a durable and long-lasting solution for tooth replacement.

South Austin Dental Associates
South Austin Dental Associates

Did you know that dental bridges typically last between five and 15 years or longer with good oral hygiene practices and regular dental check-ups?

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Initial Consultation

Your dental bridge appointment will begin with an initial consultation with our dentist. During this visit, the dentist will assess your oral health, discuss your treatment goals, and determine if dental bridges are the right option for you.

Preparation of Abutment Teeth

The next step involves preparing the abutment teeth. These are the natural teeth adjacent to the missing tooth or teeth that will support the bridge. Our dentist will carefully reshape these teeth to create space for the dental crowns that will hold the bridge in place.

Impressions and Temporary Bridge

Once the abutment teeth are prepared, impressions of your teeth will be taken to create a custom-fit dental bridge. While the permanent bridge is being fabricated, our dentist may place a temporary bridge to protect the prepared teeth and restore function and aesthetics.

Placement of Permanent Bridge

The temporary bridge will be removed, and the permanent bridge will be carefully fitted and adjusted to ensure proper alignment and bite. Once the fit is confirmed, the bridge will be securely bonded or cemented onto the abutment teeth, completing the restoration.

Post-Placement Care and Instructions

After the bridge is placed, our dentist will provide you with instructions on how to care for your new restoration. This may include guidance on oral hygiene practices, dietary restrictions, and when to schedule follow-up appointments for routine maintenance and check-ups.

Types of Dental Bridges

Traditional dental bridges are the most common type and consist of pontics (artificial teeth) suspended between two dental crowns anchored to adjacent natural teeth. These adjacent teeth are prepared by removing a portion of enamel to accommodate the crowns, providing stability and support to the bridge. Traditional bridges are suitable for replacing one or more consecutive missing teeth and offer a durable and aesthetically pleasing restoration.

Cantilever dental bridges are similar to traditional ones but differ in the anchoring mechanism. Instead of being supported by two adjacent teeth, a cantilever bridge is anchored to only one adjacent tooth. This type of bridge is often used in areas with only one adjoining tooth available for support. While cantilever bridges offer a conservative solution for tooth replacement, they may exert more stress on the supporting tooth and are unsuitable for replacing molars or for areas with high chewing forces.

Maryland bridges, also known as resin-bonded bridges, utilize a metal or porcelain framework bonded to the back of adjacent teeth with minimal alteration. Unlike traditional bridges, Maryland bridges do not require the removal of enamel from the adjacent teeth, making them a conservative option for replacing missing teeth. However, they may not be suitable for areas with heavy chewing forces or significant esthetic demands.

Implant-supported dental bridges offer a stable and long-lasting solution for replacing multiple missing teeth without relying on adjacent natural teeth for support. These bridges are anchored to dental implants surgically placed in the jawbone, providing unparalleled stability and preventing bone loss in the surrounding area. Implant-supported bridges offer numerous advantages, including improved chewing function, enhanced aesthetics, and preservation of bone density. However, they require adequate bone volume and good oral health for successful placement.

Orthodontic treatment involves the diagnosis, prevention, and correction of misaligned teeth and malocclusions (bite abnormalities). General dentists may offer orthodontic services such as traditional braces or clear aligner therapy (e.g., Invisalign) to improve the alignment, function, and appearance of patients' smiles.

Periodontal treatment focuses on the prevention, diagnosis, and management of gum disease (periodontitis) and other conditions affecting the gums and supporting structures of the teeth. Treatment options may include scaling and root planing (deep cleaning), periodontal surgery, and ongoing maintenance therapy to control infection and preserve periodontal health.

Cosmetic dentistry encompasses a variety of procedures aimed at improving the appearance of the teeth and smile. Common cosmetic treatments offered by general dentists include teeth whitening, dental bonding, porcelain veneers, and tooth-colored fillings. These procedures can enhance the color, shape, size, and alignment of teeth, creating a more attractive and confident smile.

South Austin Dental Associates

Did you know that according to the American College of Prosthodontists, an estimated 15 million people in the United States have crowns or bridges to replace missing teeth?

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Frequently Asked Questions About Dental Bridges

  • What are dental bridges?

    Dental bridges are fixed prosthetic devices used to replace one or more missing teeth. They consist of artificial teeth (pontics) anchored to adjacent natural teeth (abutments) or dental implants, filling the gap left by missing teeth and restoring oral function and aesthetics.

  • How long do dental bridges last?

    The lifespan of a dental bridge varies depending on factors such as oral hygiene practices, diet, and the materials used. On average, dental bridges can last between five and 15 years or longer with proper care and regular dental check-ups.

  • Are dental bridges noticeable?

    Dental bridges are designed to closely resemble natural teeth in both appearance and function. With advancements in dental materials and techniques, modern bridges can be customized to blend in seamlessly with surrounding teeth, making them virtually indistinguishable from natural teeth.

  • How do I care for a dental bridge?

    Caring for a dental bridge is similar to caring for natural teeth. It's important to brush and floss regularly to remove plaque and food particles from around the bridge and maintain good oral hygiene. Additionally, avoiding hard or sticky foods and scheduling regular dental check-ups are essential for preserving the longevity of the bridge.

  • Can I eat normally with a dental bridge?

    Yes, dental bridges restore the ability to eat and speak comfortably, allowing patients to enjoy a varied diet without restrictions. However, it's advisable to avoid chewing on hard objects or using the teeth to open packaging, as these actions can damage the bridge or surrounding teeth.

  • How much do dental bridges cost?

    The cost of a dental bridge varies depending on factors such as the number of pontics, the materials used, and the complexity of the procedure. Generally, dental bridges are more affordable than other tooth replacement options, such as dental implants, making them a popular choice for many patients.

South Austin Dental Associates

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