Everything You Never Knew About Dental Bridges
Last updated Tuesday, October 4th, 2022
We all want to have a nice smile. Why? Because smiles universally make people happy!
If you’d ask a group of people what they consider to be the most attractive facial features, the majority would include “a smile” in their top 5 most important features. Unfortunately, not all of us were graced with strong, beautiful teeth by nature. And, as life sometimes throws curve balls, some people have had accidents or health problems that caused them to lose those precious teeth.
If you are one of the people described above, you are in luck. Dental technology has come leaps and bounds in the last decade, and there is an affordable solution for most dental problems, including missing teeth.
In this article, we’ll discuss dental bridges. Unless you’ve had one in the past, you probably don’t know much about them. But if you have any of the problems mentioned above, you may wonder if a dental bridge is a good solution to your own teeth issues.
What is a dental bridge?
A dental bridge replaces missing natural teeth while keeping your healthy teeth intact where they currently are. Think of a dental bridge as an appliance that “bridges” the gaps from where your missing teeth used to be.
Dental bridges can be either fixed (permanent) or removable and there are advantages and disadvantages to each, as well as requirements to make them work in your situation. Everyone has teeth that are unique to them. The best people to help you make the decision between the two is a qualified dentist with experience in bridges.
Bridges are very different from dentures or a set of false teeth. Dentures require removing all of the top, bottom, or both top and bottom teeth completely, then creating a new set of false teeth to replace the ones that were pulled.
Bridges replace a few missing teeth without having to remove your healthy teeth. In fact, they often use those healthy teeth to anchor the bridge so that it stays put in your mouth.
How long do dental bridges last on front teeth?
A dental bridge can last for a very long time on the front two or four teeth, even up to 15 years or longer with good dental care and hygiene. Typically, most front bridges last at least 5 years; many last decades.
How long is a dental bridge supposed to last?
You can reasonably expect your dental bridge to last from five to 15 years for most people. Of course, taking good care of the appliance and your natural teeth will increase the length of time they last.
What is the disadvantage of dental bridge?
Dental bridges need to be anchored to healthy teeth on both sides. Often this is achieved by adding crowns to those healthy teeth, giving the bridge a solid anchor to hold the bridge in place. With this, it is sometimes difficult to keep the teeth clean and there is a possibility of dental decay to the healthy anchored teeth.
Another disadvantage is that they are not a permanent fix. They do tend to wear out over time, where dental implants are considered to be a more permanent solution.
How painful is getting a dental bridge?
The procedure itself is not a painful process, because a local anesthetic is used to numb the mouth and jaw area. Some people feel great after their procedure with little to no discomfort. Others, especially people with sensitive teeth or a tendency to have swollen gums, may feel a bit of discomfort for the first few days. This soreness can most often be managed with over-the-counter pain relievers. However, if you are having more discomfort, it is important to let us know so that we can keep you as comfortable as possible.
Immediately after getting a new prosthetic bridge, you may find that they feel unnatural or even bulky. Your bite may feel different than before. This is normal and your body will adjust to it, most often quite quickly.
Is a dental bridge worth it?
If you are wondering if a dental bridge is worth it, there are lot of things to consider. One of the most important things to think about is how a dental bridge can help restore your self-confidence and self-esteem. A bridge can fix your smile and make it as good as or even better than it was previously. It can also restore your ability to eat food and chew comfortably and thoroughly.
In terms of the treatment itself, there are many reasons why a dental bridge would be the recommended treatment for a patient. Here are a few:
- A dental bridge doesn’t require surgery. The procedure can be done in an office visit with only a local anesthetic.
- If you have several healthy teeth, it is often best to keep those healthy teeth intact and not remove them. Bridges don’t require all teeth to be removed and the healthy teeth can be maintained just as they always have been.
- The remaining teeth are protected from shifting and bone loss. If the empty spaces are left for a period of time, the other teeth may move.
- Both shifting and bone loss can make a significant difference in a person’s appearance aesthetically, sometimes causing a sunken-in look to the face. Bridges maintain the natural placement of teeth and prevent a change in the bone structure of the face.
- It is a more affordable option, as well as more likely to be covered under dental and healthcare insurance.
Can you chew gum with a bridge?
Yes, you can chew gum if that’s your thing. You may want to consider if it is in your best option though. Gum and chewy food do have a potential to cause damage to the bridge. As with all things though, almost everything is fine in moderation.
Can you eat hard food with a bridge?
As a rule of thumb, you should be able to eat, drink, and chew whatever you enjoy normally. Hard foods are no exception… you can have them if you want. It is recommended, however, that you are careful while consuming hard foods because there is the potential for damage to the prosthetic bridge itself. If you need to chew with a lot of pressure, be sure to lessen your chances for damage by being extra mindful of chewing carefully.
How do you clean under a dental bridge?
There are special brushes you can use if you choose to keep your tooth bridge clean but they aren’t necessary. All that needs to be done to keep them sparkling clean is toothpaste, a soft bristled toothbrush, and floss.
Can you use mouthwash with a bridge?
Absolutely, and many dentists suggest using mouthwash that contains fluoride or is considered antibacterial. It’s just an extra layer of cleanliness and protection.
Does food get under a dental bridge?
Unfortunately, getting food under your dental bridge is something that can happen, but it depends upon your actual bridge and how seamlessly it fits against your gumline. That, of course, depends upon your own specific needs for your bridge.
Can you use an electric toothbrush on a bridge?
Sure, you certainly can use an electric toothbrush on your bridgework.
Should I floss under my bridge?
You should always floss your teeth, both the natural teeth and wherever there is a space between the bridge and your gums, just like you would normally do. Many patients find that using a water flosser such as a Waterpik works well for cleaning under their bridge.
Can you sleep with dental bridge?
It depends on if your bridge is fixed in your mouth or if it is removable. If it’s removable, you should remove it each night before bed.
What is better, a bridge or crown?
As with any situation, your dentist can tell you what your best option is. If you have a cracked or broken tooth, depending on the damage, oftentimes crowns can fix the problem. If you need to have the tooth removed or if you have a few teeth that are missing, a bridge is often the way to go.
Is it better to have a bridge or an implant?
As with the previous question, your dentist knows what is best in your current situation. As a rule of thumb, if you have more than one tooth that is missing or that needs to be removed, a bridge is often recommended.
How many teeth can fit on a bridge?
In most circumstances, a bridge can restore from one to four teeth. Sometimes it is possible to do more. This would depend upon your dentist’s recommendations.
Do teeth bridges fall out?
Teeth bridges are meant to be strong and durable. They ARE used in the mouth after all. The mouth and jaw have strong muscles capable of producing a lot of pressure.
Fixed bridges are anchored well and are meant to remain in the mouth until they are removed by a dental professional.
Removable bridges are also meant to stay in the mouth and use your other natural teeth to hold them in place. It is possible for them to fall out though. Make sure your dental bridge is fitted well and discuss with your dentist any problems or worries you have about them staying put.
How many teeth are involved in a bridge?
Bridges can replace from one to four missing teeth and need two healthy teeth – one on each side of the mouth – to anchor to.
Does a dental bridge look natural?
Think of your dentist as a specialized artist… he or she can make your new teeth look as good as or even better than your natural teeth that are being replaced. They will match the color of your teeth and will be shaped and sized appropriately for your own mouth.
Can a dental bridge be done in one day?
Oh, the beauty of technology! With the current advances in dentistry and computer technology, your new bridge can be installed in a day. There are always special circumstances that this is not available for, but for the majority of patients, it is definitely possible.