Dental Bridges in Ontario, CA
Half of American adults ages 20 to 64 have lost at least one permanent tooth. Tooth loss leaves you with gaps in your smile that may lower your self-confidence, prevent you from enjoying the foods you love, and impact your ability to speak confidently. Dental bridges are a commonly-used solution for replacing missing teeth. With dental bridges, we can conceal the gap in your smile while restoring function to your bite.
What Are Dental Bridges?
A dental bridge is a prosthetic restoration used to replace missing teeth. A traditional bridge contains a row of artificial teeth with connecting crowns on each end. These crowns attach to your natural teeth on either side of the bridge to hold the bridge in place.
You may be a good candidate for a dental bridge if you have one or more missing teeth in a row. To support a bridge, the teeth on either side of the gap need to be healthy. You must also have good oral health and a strong jawbone to qualify for a bridge. If you have cavities or gum issues like gingivitis or periodontitis, these must be addressed before we can place a bridge.
How do Dental Bridges Differ from Other Restorations?
Other methods for replacing missing teeth are partial dentures and dental implants.
Partial dentures may be used if more teeth are missing or if tooth loss impacts both sides of the arch. Unlike bridges, which are bonded to your teeth with dental cement, partial dentures are removable. Partials must be taken out for cleaning and soaked overnight to maintain their integrity. The look of partial dentures also differs from the look of dental bridges. The artificial teeth on a partial denture attach to a gum-colored acrylic base. Conversely, a bridge contains crowns and prosthetic teeth with no artificial gum. While a partial denture may be cheaper, bridges are more long-lasting.
Dental implants are the longest-lasting replacement option for missing teeth. A mini dental implant is a small metal post that is screwed into the jawbone. Mini implants can support dental appliances like crowns, bridges, and dentures. We recommend mini implants when neighboring teeth are not healthy enough to support a bridge. Like traditional bridges, implant-supported bridges are permanently anchored. Read on to learn more about implant-supported bridges.
Types of Dental Bridges
Different types of dental bridges solve different issues caused by tooth loss.
Traditional Fixed Bridge
A traditional fixed bridge is the most commonly-used bridge. The prosthetic is secured to the healthy tooth on both sides of the gap. Each end of the bridge has a crown, and the artificial tooth or teeth are between them.
A cantilever bridge is used instead when only one healthy tooth remains on either side of the gap (or if the missing tooth is a back molar). In this case, the bridge is attached on only one end. For traditional and cantilever bridges to fit securely onto the natural teeth, we need to shape the teeth by removing some enamel.
Maryland Bonded Bridge
A Maryland bonded bridge is the most conservative type of bridge. Instead of capping neighboring teeth for support, a Maryland bridge is connected to the back of the teeth with metal wings. Because it doesn’t require any enamel removal, Maryland bridge placement is non-invasive, requiring no anesthesia. Though a Maryland bridge is a good option for replacing front teeth, they are not strong enough to withstand the pressure exerted on teeth like molars.
The strongest and most long-lasting method to anchor a bridge is by using mini dental implants to provide support. Rather than putting pressure on your natural teeth, the bridge is connected to the implant. The implant is secured into the jawbone and has a ball on one end that protrudes above the gumline. Implant-supported bridges are a great option when the remaining teeth aren’t strong enough to support the appliance.
Because the procedure to place mini implants is efficient and minimally invasive, we can typically place them and mount the bridge in the same visit.
Implant-supported bridges have impressive success rates and offer many benefits. For one, they help ensure a healthy jawbone. When you put pressure on the jawbone through biting and chewing, your body continues to generate bone cells and send nutrients to that area. Unfortunately, when a tooth is lost, the root no longer stimulates the jawbone in this way. Because dental implants are artificial tooth roots that fuse with the jawbone, they provide the necessary stimulation to maintain a healthy jaw.
Mini implants are also incredibly durable, owing to their metal posts and integration with the jawbone. With proper care, your implants can last a lifetime.
Procedure and Process for Dental Bridges
At your free consultation, we’ll discuss your medical history, medications, oral hygiene routine, and dental goals. We will also perform a dental exam and X-take rays to assess your oral health and determine whether dental bridges are right for you. X-rays also help us identify where to place the mini implants if an implant-supported bridge is needed. We’ll also go over what you can expect from the procedure and treatment costs. If you want to finance your bridge, we can also discuss the flexible financing options we offer.
Typically, dental bridges require two visits. At your first visit, if you need a traditional or cantilever bridge, we will prepare the support teeth so that the bridge connects securely to the natural teeth. We’ll apply a local anesthetic to numb your gums and then remove some of the enamel. We do this to make room for the restoration.
Next, we will take impressions so that your custom bridge can be manufactured in a dental lab, which takes approximately two to three weeks. We’ll place a temporary bridge while you wait to protect the area.
Once your bridge is made, you’ll come in to have it placed. We’ll apply local anesthesia before removing the temporary bridge. Then, we can place your custom-made restoration. We’ll check the fit, evaluate your bite, and then bond the bridge to your teeth with dental cement.
For implant-supported bridges, we will place the implants first. To do this, we make a small incision, drill a pilot hole in the jawbone, and then screw in the metal post. Once the implants are placed, we can mount the bridge.
Dental bridges look and feel like natural teeth, but they may initially feel unfamiliar. It’s normal to experience some sensitivity or soreness, but cold compresses and over-the-counter pain relievers like ibuprofen can help. These side effects will diminish in the days following your procedure. As you get used to your new bridge, it will become a familiar part of your smile.
Maintaining Your Dental Bridge
With proper maintenance, dental bridges can last for 15 years. To adequately care for your bridge, you should maintain good oral hygiene by:
- Brushing twice a day with a soft-bristle brush and fluoride toothpaste
- Flossing daily with dental picks, floss threaders, or interdental brushes
- Using an antimicrobial mouthwash
You can prevent premature damage to your bridge by:
- Avoiding hard or sticky foods
- Stopping certain habits like biting your fingernails and chewing ice or pens
- Wearing a mouth guard or night guard to take pressure off your bridge from grinding or clenching
- Contacting us if you have concerns about your bridge
Maintaining your six-month routine checkups will help keep your bridge clean and allow us to evaluate the condition of your bridge.
Bridge the Gap in Your Smile at Esparza Dentistry
Losing a permanent tooth doesn’t just change the look of your smile; it also reduces its functionality. Fortunately, there are various options for replacing missing teeth. With dental bridges, you can strengthen your bite, improve your speech, and maintain your oral health, all while enhancing the appearance of your smile. Contact Esparza Dentistry today to schedule a complimentary consultation and learn if dental bridges are right for you.
With three locations in Ontario, Chino, and Rialto, CA, we make accessing high-quality dental care near you easy.
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