When Do You Need a Dental Bridge?
When you lose a pearly white, the rest of your teeth start moving around to fill the gap. This can lead to all sorts of problems. Your bite may become uneven, making it difficult to chew. The way your face looks can even change. Dental bridges are one of the options you have for filling in the spaces between your natural teeth. Let’s take a look at what a dental bridge is and focus on dental bridge care.
What Dental Are Dental Bridges?
Dental bridges are exactly what they sound like. In the same way a bridge spans the gap between two pieces of land, a dental bridge fills the gap between two teeth with a new tooth called a pontic. They can serve the same purpose as crowns, but dental bridges use two healthy teeth to anchor them in place instead of one. They are a great route to take for patients who are missing more than one tooth in the same area.
Different Kinds of Bridges
Bridges come in a variety of materials including metal, ceramic, porcelain, or resin. Some options are better than others depending on where in your mouth the bridge will go. The cost of each option varies. The variety allows for you to get a bridge that best matches the shade and color of your natural teeth. On that note, if you are thinking about teeth whitening, make sure you do it before you get a bridge. The materials used to make bridges that look like your original teeth are less susceptible to staining, which also means they are harder to whiten.
Getting a Bridge
The first step in getting a bridge is reducing the size of the teeth that will act as supports. The bridge needs to slide over these teeth, so this helps create a snug fit. Your dentist then takes an impression of your mouth to make a mold and sends it to a lab. You receive a temporary bridge to prevent the teeth from moving around, and the lab creates your bridge. When you return for the permanent bridge, the dentist removes the temporary, and the bridge molded to fit your unique dental features is cemented in place.
Right after you get your permanent bridge, you may feel some discomfort. Hot or cold foods can trigger some discomfort as your teeth get used to the cement. Toothpaste for sensitive teeth can help. If you feel like your bit is “off,” schedule an appointment with your dentist so he or she can adjust it for you. It shouldn’t feel funny when you chew food or talk.
Dental Bridge Care
Caring for your dental bridge is an essential part of your mouth’s health. During the process of getting a dental bridge, you will also have to take care of a temporary bridge. Here are some tips for taking care of both.
Temporary Dental Bridge Care
Temporary dental bridge care is crucial. If your temporary bridge is damaged or comes out, you need to return to the dentist right away before your teeth move. Remember, a lab made your permanent bridge to the specs of the mold your dentist took. If your teeth move, the mold will be outdated! Make sure you avoid chewing anything hard or sticky when you have a temporary bridge in place. This includes gum, crusty bread, taffy, ice, and even popcorn (a hard center hiding in a partially popped kernel can do some damage).
Permanent Dental Bridge Care
With good dental bridge care, your permanent bridge can last you a lifetime. Taking good care of your new teeth is just as important as taking care of your existing teeth. Without dental bridge care, the bridge can experience decay near the gum line, just like a natural tooth. Regular brushing and flossing can help prevent many of the problems you might face in the future. Products that are high in fluoride content are particularly useful for dental bridge care. A history of periodontal disease means you should be extra vigilant when taking care of your bridge.
Caring for the Pontic
Taking care of the pontic, the replacement tooth, is a little different from caring for your other teeth. A floss threader is an excellent tool for dental bridge care. Floss threaders look like floss lassos, a loop at the end of a stiff plastic lead. To use a floss threader, push the loop between the pontic and the tooth that provides support. Once the loop is through, place floss in the loop and pull it back through. Now that the floss is in the pontic area, you can start flossing the difficult to reach areas.
Getting Your Bridge from an Experienced Dentist
If you are missing teeth or have had any dental issues that you think would benefit from a dental bridge, contact McCauley Dental for a free consultation.