A full and complete set of teeth offers many benefits — from allowing you to enjoy your favorite foods and speak clearly to giving you the confidence to smile proudly and without hesitation. If your smile is broken up with one or more gaps as a result of missing teeth, dental bridges can help. A dental bridge is an oral appliance that consists of an artificial tooth (called a pontic) supported by the surrounding teeth. Dr. Mia Fitzgerald offers several dental bridges at her comprehensive dental practice in Sudbury. She can help you select the type that can best help you eat, chew, speak and smile with ease again.
The Benefits of Dental Bridges
Replacing missing teeth with a dental bridge offers a number of benefits. Missing teeth put a lot of stress on the remaining teeth when chewing. They also create an uneven bite and may cause jaw pain. A dental bridge protects the natural teeth from chewing forces and strengthens the bite, allowing you to chew with much more ease. Filling in gaps with a dental bridge also prevents the surrounding teeth from shifting in the mouth. In addition, having a full set of teeth is attractive and healthier than having missing teeth.
Dental Bridge Choices
Traditional dental bridges consist of a pontic that fits in the gap and is supported by two dental crowns placed over the teeth adjacent to the gap. Cantilever bridges consist of a pontic with two dental crowns positioned next to each other. Both traditional and cantilever bridges require the removal of natural tooth structure from the supporting teeth in order to accommodate the dental crowns. A third type of dental bridge, called a Maryland bridge, requires much less, if any, removal of tooth structure. Maryland bridges consist of a pontic with two metal wings or clasps attached to the sides. The wings are bonded to the back of the teeth surrounding the gap. Dr. Fitzgerald uses Maryland bridges whenever possible to preserve as much natural tooth structure as possible.
Dental bridges can be placed on their own or they can be attached to implant posts that are surgically inserted into the jawbone. Implant-supported bridges offer enhanced support and stability, and are ideal for patients who are missing more than one tooth or do not have enough healthy tooth structure to support the replacement teeth.
Dental bridges are typically planned, created and placed over the course of two dental appointments. During your first appointment, Dr. Fitzgerald will prepare your teeth for placement and take impressions of your teeth and mouth. She will then send the impressions and other information to the dental laboratory that will create your bridge. Dr. Fitzgerald may place a temporary bridge as you wait for your permanent restoration.
Once your bridge is ready (which usually takes one month), Dr. Fitzgerald can put it in place. She will make last-minute adjustments to your bridge as needed to make sure it fits and looks properly. Your bridge will then be bonded into place, buffed and polished.
Don’t let missing teeth or gaps prevent you from showing off your smile. Dr. Fitzgerald would be happy to discuss your restorative treatment options, including dental bridges, in detail with you during an in-office appointment. Contact the practice of Dr. Mia Fitzgerald by calling or emailing our practice today.