Support & Restore Your Smile
Dental bridges are a crucial aspect of restorative dentistry, playing a vital role in both functionality and aesthetics by filling gaps caused by missing teeth. Missing teeth can lead to difficulties in chewing, speech problems, and a loss of self-confidence, affecting various aspects of your lifestyle. However, you don’t have to let gaps in your smile impact your confidence.
At Holyoke Mall Dental, our Holyoke, MA, dentist, Dr. Eric Chen, offers reliable dental bridges, providing a natural-looking replacement for missing teeth. Thanks to dental bridges, losing a tooth doesn’t have to alter your eating habits, your confidence in your smile, or your speech patterns.
What Are Dental Bridges?
Dental bridges are a natural-looking method of replacing missing teeth and restoring full oral function. They typically utilize a combination of your surrounding natural teeth, dental crowns, and false teeth called pontics to restore your smile. Bridges can generally replace up to four adjacent teeth.
We recommend dental bridges for oral health problems such as:
- Cracked or damaged teeth
- Support for a tooth that has a large filling
- Missing teeth
Types of Dental Bridges
Dental bridges come in various types, each suited for specific scenarios.
- Traditional Bridges: Traditional bridges consist of a pontic held in place by dental crowns on the adjacent natural teeth. They’re used when there are natural teeth remaining on both sides of the gap.
- Cantilever Bridges: Similar to traditional bridges, cantilever bridges are anchored to only one adjacent tooth. They’re suitable when there’s only one natural tooth adjacent to the gap.
- Maryland Bridges (Resin-Bonded Bridges or Maryland-bonded bridges): Maryland bridges use a metal or porcelain framework. The bridge has wings on each side that are bonded to the adjacent teeth. They’re a conservative option and are often used for front teeth.
Benefits of Dental Bridges
Dental bridges are trusted by dentists internationally to fill the gaps in patients’ smiles. Bridges offer a range of advantages that go beyond aesthetic improvement, including:
- Restored Functionality: Dental bridges can restore the function of proper chewing and speaking abilities. The absence of teeth can lead to difficulties in biting and pronouncing certain sounds, which a bridge effectively addresses.
- Enhanced Aesthetics: Dental bridges not only fill gaps but also contribute to an improved smile. The prosthetic teeth are crafted to closely resemble natural teeth, enhancing overall appearance and boosting self-confidence.
- Preservation of Oral Health: By filling gaps left by missing teeth, bridges prevent adjacent teeth from shifting out of position. This helps maintain proper bite alignment, reducing the risk of further dental issues and preserving the integrity of the jawbone.
- Increased Comfort: Dental bridges are custom-made to fit seamlessly into the patient’s mouth. This ensures a comfortable fit, allowing for natural speech and eating habits without discomfort or irritation.
- Efficient and Convenient: Unlike removable dentures, dental bridges are fixed in place, eliminating the need for removal and adhesives. This convenience makes them a hassle-free solution for those seeking a reliable tooth replacement option.
- Long-lasting Solution: With proper care and maintenance, dental bridges can last for a decade or more. Routine dental check-ups and good oral hygiene practices can significantly extend their lifespan.
- Minimally Invasive Procedure: Compared to some alternatives like dental implants, bridge placement is a less invasive procedure. It typically requires minimal surgical intervention, making it a suitable option for many patients.
Evaluation and Preparation for Dental Bridges
Initial Dental Examination
Before proceeding with a dental bridge, Dr. Chen will conduct a thorough examination to assess the patient’s oral health status.
This examination involves:
- X-rays and Imaging: Dr. Chen uses advanced technology like X-rays and sometimes other imaging techniques to get a detailed and comprehensive view of the teeth, jawbone, and surrounding structures. This helps in determining the condition of the abutment teeth and identifying any potential issues.
- Oral Health Assessment: Our Holyoke dentist determines the state of the patient’s overall oral health. He’ll look for any signs of gum disease, decay, or other conditions that may affect the success of the dental bridge.
Once the examination is complete, a treatment plan is developed based on the patient’s unique needs and circumstances.
This plan includes:
- Choosing the Appropriate Type of Bridge: Depending on the number of missing teeth and their location, the most suitable type of bridge is selected. Factors such as the health of the abutment teeth also play a crucial role in this decision.
- Material Selection: Bridges can be made from various materials, including porcelain, ceramic, metal alloys, or a combination of materials. The choice of material is influenced by factors like durability, aesthetics, and the patient’s budget.
Preparing Abutment Teeth
Before the bridge can be placed, Dr. Chen prepares the abutment teeth to receive the dental crowns. This process involves:
- Shaping and Reshaping: Our Holyoke dentist will carefully shape the enamel of the abutment teeth to create a secure and stable base for the dental crowns. This may involve removing a small amount of enamel to ensure a snug fit.
- Temporary Crowns: He’ll place temporary crowns on the abutment teeth to protect them while the final bridge is being fabricated at a dental lab. These temporary crowns also provide a functional and aesthetic solution in the interim period.
The Dental Bridge Placement Process
After the initial preparation, the actual placement of the dental bridge takes place. This process involves two key steps:
Temporary Bridge Placement
Before the final bridge is ready, a temporary bridge is temporarily affixed to the abutment teeth. This temporary bridge serves several important functions:
- Protection: It protects the abutment teeth and the exposed gum tissue from damage and sensitivity.
- Maintaining Functionality: It allows the patient to continue using the area for chewing and speaking, preventing any disruption to their daily activities.
- Aesthetic Placeholder: The temporary bridge also helps in maintaining the appearance of the smile while the final bridge is being fabricated.
Final Bridge Installation
Once the final bridge is ready, it’s carefully fitted and installed. This involves:
- Fitting and Adjustments: Our dentist will meticulously check the bridge to ensure a perfect fit. He’ll make any necessary adjustments to ensure that it aligns correctly with the surrounding teeth.
- Permanent Attachment: Once the fit is confirmed, Dr. Chen will permanently attach the bridge to the abutment teeth. This is typically done using dental cement that securely bonds the bridge in place.
Caring for Your Bridge
Bridges can last for up to 10 years with proper oral hygiene. Thankfully, it’s easy to maintain the health of your teeth with stunning, decay-free crowns that protect and restore your smile. Just follow these simple steps to keep your bridge looking and feeling its best:
- Brush your teeth twice a day for two minutes each time.
- Gently floss between your teeth, making sure to avoid snapping the floss down onto your gums.
- Schedule an appointment with our dentists in Holyoke every six months.
During your routine checkups, we’ll deep-clean your teeth and examine your restorations to ensure they’re staying securely in place. You’ll learn more about caring for your restorations at your consultation.
Frequently Asked Questions
Dental bridges are a durable restoration that can typically last for five to 15 years, sometimes longer with proper hygiene. Dentists recommend following these instructions to extend the longevity of your dental bridge:
- Avoid foods that are hard, sugary, starchy, or chewy
- Use a fluoridated toothpaste and a soft-bristled toothbrush at least twice a day
- Floss daily
- Visit your dentist for biannual dental cleanings and checkups
Yes, dental bridges can be designed to replace multiple missing teeth in a row. This type of fixed bridge, known as a “long-span bridge,” relies on multiple abutment teeth for support.
No, dental bridges can’t be whitened. Due to dental bridges being made of porcelain, they’re resistant to whitening products. It’s strongly recommended that you whiten your teeth before beginning the dental bridge procedure so your restorations match the shade of your teeth.
Most dental insurance plans will either partially or fully cover the cost of dental bridges. Most practices work with many insurance companies to ensure patients get the care they need. Talk to your insurance provider to find out more about your coverage.
Rediscover Confidence with Holyoke Mall Dental
Dental bridges give our patients a natural-looking solution for filling the gaps in their smiles. With a sturdy, long-trusted structure, bridges can restore your smile to its fullest potential. Discover how bridges can boost your confidence and quality of life by scheduling a consultation with our restorative dentist.
Contact us today at (413) 538-7400 to learn more. You can also fill out an online contact form, and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible. We’re happy to take new and returning patients from the Holyoke area, including Southampton, South Hadley, and Granby, MA.