Westwood Dentist Services
Are some of your teeth broken or missing? Do you need a tooth extracted? You don't have to live in embarrassment or hide your smile anymore. The experienced staff at Westwood Village Smiles can help you regain your confidence and rebuild your smile through the application of easily installed and great-looking dental bridges.
What is a Dental Bridge?
A dental bridge is a semi-permanent way to repair a smile by replacing missing teeth with a dental appliance. Typically a bridge is constructed of false teeth (usually made of porcelain) that are molded to a metal framework that can be installed over existing teeth. Those existing teeth are often strengthened through artificial crowns so that the dental bridge doesn't damage them.
Each bridge is custom-crafted to fit every individual patient's needs. As such, dental bridges can be used to replace one or more missing teeth in a quick and cost-effective manner.
Bridges are sometimes permanently affixed (via a cementing procedure) but don't require any surgical installation.
Why Would You Need a Dental Bridge?
If your missing tooth (or teeth) is not visible, you may not think you need it replaced. However, missing teeth can lead to a number of issues including:
- Dental migration—surrounding teeth actually move within the gum to naturally "fill in the gap"
- Speech impediments—missing teeth can cause lisps or other speech changes that can get worse with time
- Jaw misalignment—missing teeth at the back of your mouth could lead to a misalignment of your jawbone which could, in turn, lead to tooth damage, jaw pain, difficulty chewing.
- Additional damage—by causing misaligned bite patterns, missing teeth could place unnecessary force on your remaining teeth making them prone to breakage.
The Two Most Common Types of Dental Bridges
Standard Dental Bridges
These bridges are constructed from porcelain or plastic false teeth and gums over a metal or porcelain framework. This type of bridge uses metal loops placed around abutting teeth to hold your bridge in place.
Maryland Bonded Bridges
Maryland bonded bridges are constructed in a very similar manner, but these bridges are typically cemented (chemically fused) to surrounding teeth—usually on just one side. This process creates a more permanent solution and minimizes the movement of your bridge as you chew.
How are Bridges Created and Installed?
Typically, a dental bridge is installed over the course of two visits to Westwood Village Smiles.
- During the first visit, the abutting teeth are prepared. A layer of the teeth is removed and an artificial crown is installed to strengthen them.
- Next, a detailed mold is made of your mouth that an expert craftsperson will use to custom-build your dental bridge appliance. You may or may not receive a temporary bridge at this point.
- Next, your bridge is crafted. The process usually takes about two weeks.
- Finally, you'll come into Westwood Village Smiles a second time and your new bridge will be installed, fitted, and (if necessary) bonded to your existing anchor teeth.
The Advantages of Having a Dental Bridge Installed
They're (Nearly) Permanent
Dental bridges are designed to be as permanent a solution as possible. While it may be necessary to repair, realign, or replace bridgework in the future due to damage, wear, or normal changes in the structure of your smile, your initial dental bridge should last for years with no problems at all. However, many dental bridges must be realigned or repaired within ten years of installation.
Compared to surgically implanted dental appliances, bridges are much more cost-effective. You can get your smile repaired in one or two visits without the need for anesthetics or an involved oral surgery. Simply get fitted for your dental bridge and have your "anchor teeth" strengthened (usually through installing crowns), come back when your bridge has been built, and have it installed.
Bridges Eliminate the Need for Dentures
Bridges are a much more permanent solution to partial dentures. Dentures require regular adjustments, cleaning, and can often fail. Comparatively, dental bridges are much sturdier, are permanently affixed, and should last years without any issues at all.
Bridges May Be Covered by Insurance
If you have a dental insurance policy, it may pay for all or most of your dental bridge installation. Bridges—while they do enhance the beauty of your smile—aren't merely a cosmetic dental implant. These necessary dental appliances can restore accurate and healthy functionality to a mouth that would otherwise suffer from serious problems in the future.
Questions About Bridges?
If you have any question about bridges, please, contact our helpful office staff by calling (301) 775-2265 today. If we can't answer your question over the phone, we can easily schedule a no-obligation consultation with Dr. Guillen or one of our other knowledgeable staff members to discuss your concerns and get you all the information you need to make the right decision for you.