Excel Dental Blog

Dental Bridges: Get Over Your Gap

Dental Bridges: Get Over Your Gap

Are you missing one or more teeth? If so, you understand how these gaps can make everyday tasks—such as speaking and chewing—more difficult. You might also find yourself covering your mouth upon hearing, “Smile for the camera!”

Beyond these daily hindrances, missing teeth can pose a more ominous risk to your oral health.

Think of your teeth as a team—they work better together. When you lose a tooth, the nearby teeth may tilt or drift into that empty gap. The teeth in your opposite jaw may also shift up or down toward the space. This movement can affect your bite and place more stress on your teeth and jaw joints, which over time causes pain and discomfort. Moreover, teeth that have shifted are also harder to clean, putting you at a higher risk for tooth decay and gum disease. And if your bone starts to shrink in the gapped area, it can even change the way you look by affecting the support structure of your jawbone.

Although living with missing teeth can sometimes feel isolating, you should know that you’re not alone. In fact, the American Dental Association reports that the average adult between 20 and 64 years old has three decayed or missing teeth.

If only there was a minimally invasive, effective solution for getting your teeth back…

Enter stage right: Dental bridges

A dental bridge quite literally “bridges the gap” where one or more of your teeth used to be. This common procedure can be accomplished in just two simple visits to your local Ozark, MO dentist. Read on to learn more about how dental bridges can benefit you and your smile.

What is a Dental Bridge? 

A dental bridge, also known as a fixed partial denture, replaces your missing teeth with artificial teeth known as “pontics”. The pontics are adhered to a bridge that is typically constructed from metal, ceramic, porcelain, or a combination of these materials and is attached to your surrounding teeth for support. Your trusted dentist at Excel Dental will determine which materials are best for you and your mouth.

There are several benefits to bridging your gap. Dental bridges:

  • Look, feel and function like natural teeth
  • Don’t require removal for cleaning
  • Are cost-effective in comparison to other treatments
  • Restore your ability to properly chew and speak
  • Renew the aesthetics of your smile
  • Maintain the shape of your face
  • Properly distribute the force of your bite
  • Prevent your remaining teeth from shifting 

What Should I Expect?    

Placing your dental bridge will typically require two dental visits.

On your first visit, your dentist will place dental crowns over the teeth on either side of the gap where the bridge will later adhere to. A local anesthetic is used so that you’re completely comfortable and pain-free during this process.

Your Springfield, MO dentist will then take an impression of your mouth. The impression is sent to a dental laboratory where technicians will customize your dental bridge. During this time, your dentist may install a temporary bridge to protect your exposed teeth while you’re waiting for the permanent one to arrive.

Upon your second dental visit, your permanent bridge will be adjusted and adhered in place for a comfortable and completely personalized fit. 

Caring for Your Bridge

A bridge is only as strong as its foundation. London Bridge may have fallen down, but your dental bridge doesn’t have to share that same fate. It’s important to keep your surrounding teeth in tip-top shape so your bridge stays well supported. Follow these simple tips to maintain your dental bridge for years to come:

  1. Brush and floss twice daily. A dental bridge can sometimes make it easier for tiny particles and bacteria to hide, which can lead to plaque buildup. Brushing and flossing between your teeth helps to remove these particles.
  2. Schedule regular dental exams. Make sure to visit your local dentist for regular checkups and professional cleanings.
  3. Eat a balanced diet. Avoid sugary drinks and foods which create an environment that’s ripe for bacteria to thrive.

Dental bridges that are well cared for can last upwards of 10 years. Over time, however, your dental bridge may require restoration. The CEREC® machine by Sirona Dental Systems is the world’s first and only platform for completing ceramic dental restorations in just one office visit. We are thrilled to now offer CEREC technology to our patients at Excel Dental.

CEREC stands for “Chairside Economical Restoration of Esthetic Ceramics”. In other words, damaged teeth can be economically restored in one appointment using a high-quality ceramic material matching the natural color of your remaining teeth. Ask your dentist if CEREC is the right solution for restoring the ceramic pontics on your dental bridge. 

Bridge the Gap

It’s time to “get over” your gaps and restore your smile with a dental bridge. Make an appointment today at Excel Dental with Dr. Tracy Davis or Dr. Nick Matthews. Find us in Ozark, Missouri—just a short 10 minute drive from Springfield.

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