Are you missing one or more teeth? You may be a good candidate for dental bridges. This restorative treatment option restores many consecutively missing teeth. Our dentist can secure it to either adjacent teeth or dental implants. But why should you replace missing teeth in the first place, and what are your options for dental bridges in our Charlotte, NC dental office?
Why Should I Replace My Lost Teeth?
Missing teeth can have a huge impact on your life, from affecting your ability to eat and speak properly to impacting your self-confidence. There are many reasons to replace lost teeth, including improved oral health, improved appearance, and improved function. Not filling in the gaps left by missing teeth can result in multiple problems, such as:
- Tooth Decay
- Crooked Teeth
- Shifting Teeth
- Facial Sagging
- Speech Problems
- Difficulty Chewing
- Difficulty Biting
- Bone Loss
Replacing lost teeth is the best way to restore your smile and improve the quality of your life. There are now a variety of options available for replacing missing teeth, including dental implants, bridges, and dentures. Each option has its own benefits and drawbacks, so it’s important to consult with Dr. Reece to determine which one is best for you. Replacing lost teeth will help you regain proper chewing function, improve speech clarity, maintain facial shape and structure, prevent bone loss in the jaw area, and restore confidence in your smile.
What is a Dental Bridge?
A dental bridge is a type of dental restoration that can replace one or more missing teeth. It consists of two (sometimes more) crowns that our dentist places over your natural teeth (or dental implants) on both sides of the gap. The pontics, or the false teeth, are located in between the crowns. Fused together, crowns and pontics are a single unit that your dentist may suggest to replace your missing teeth.
Treatment with Dental Bridges in Charlotte, NC
Dr. Reece will evaluate your tooth loss or damaged teeth to determine if a dental is the right solution for you. Depending on how many teeth you are missing, we offer several types of dental bridges. Dr. Reece offers fixed bridges, implant secured bridges, and removable dental bridges at his Charlotte dental practice.
Removable Dental Bridges
Removable dental bridges are a temporary fix for missing teeth. They are usually provided to patients that are waiting for their permanent restoration. If you currently have a removable dental bridge and are looking for a more permanent option, we can provide you with recommendations after a dental exam and consultation.
Fixed Dental Bridge
Dr. Reece uses adjacent natural teeth to secure a fixed dental bridge. This option will require our dentist to reduce the size of those teeth to accommodate the crown portions of the bridge. Patients enjoy this option because the fixed bridge is permanent and looks more natural. However, it does require permanently damaging two healthy teeth to place it. Also, those teeth will endure extra stress.
Implant-secured Dental Bridges
A dental bridge that anchors to dental implants is the most stable type of bridge. It will last longer than the fixed bridge and does involve harming any natural teeth. Dr. Reece will place at least two dental implants in the jaw bone on both sides of the gap and then secure the bridge to them. This treatment can help prevent further tooth loss, premature facial sagging, and provide a more permanent result. However, treatment time is longer and this option is more expensive.
Dental Bridge Aftercare
The better you you take care of any dental restoration, the longer it will last. A dental bridge is no exception. You can make yours last 15 years or more if you follow these few tips.
Watch Your Diet
There are many types of food, candy, and snacks that can harm your new bridge. This includes very hard items such as bones, shells, and hard candy. Also, overly chewy and sticky foods can pull at you bridge and dislodge it. It is best to stick to softer, healthier foods that are easier to chew.
Avoid Chewing on Hard Objects
Just how you should avoid chewing on hard foods, you definitely should avoid chewing on hard objects. This habit is bad for your natural teeth and your dental bridge. This may include ice, pen caps, and finger nails.
Treat Teeth Grinding and Jaw Clenching
If you grind your teeth and clench your jaw, you are going to want to treat that. These habits can damage your dental bridge especially if you do them while you sleep. You will need to invest in a night guard to protect your bridge and remaining natural teeth.
Call Your Dentist Immediately If you Damage Your Bridge
If you accidentally damage your bridge, call Dr. Reece right away. Even if you are not sure, it is best to have him look at it. You may notice obvious signs of damage such as cracks. However, you also may notice that the bridge is loose, slipping around, or is very uncomfortable.
Be Gentle When Cleaning It
Cleaning your bridge simply requires a soft bristle tooth brush and gentle circular motions while you brush your teeth. This gentle cleaning tip will prevent you from accidentally damaging it. If you have a fixed bridge that you can not remove, make sure to floss under it to keep your gums healthy.
Take Care of Your Oral Health
Taking care of your oral health should already be part of your everyday habit. However, it is especially important to avoid gum disease so that your bridge will remain in good shape. Brush your teeth twice a day and floss at least once a day. You can also use mouthwash to rinse your mouth. Schedule regular dental checkups with Dr. Reece.
Dental Bridge FAQs
If you know all there is to know about dental bridges, you can skip this section. If not, read on to learn more about them from our dental office in Charlotte, NC. The following are some of the most common questions about dental bridges and answers to them. Dr. Greg Reece believes that a well-informed patient experiences the best results.
Is the dental bridge procedure painful?
No, it is not painful because we will numb your mouth with anesthesia during the procedure. You should not feel discomfort or pain after the treatment as well. We can provide you with after-care instructions. You can manage temporary pain at home with over-the-counter pain medication.
How do you care for a dental bridge?
You should remove and clean a removable dental bridge at least twice a day. You should remove a removable bridge at night before sleep to prevent choking or discomfort while sleeping. When dental implants secure them, you can maintain dental bridges like regular natural teeth and do not need special care.
How long is the dental bridge procedure?
The dental bridge procedure usually takes two office visits, with about an hour to an hour-and-a-half procedure time during each visit. However, the implant-secured bridges procedure spans a couple of months because we will need to surgically place dental implants first. Once we place your dental implants and they fuse to your jawbone, we prepare crowns and add them to the dental bridge during the final procedure.
Can I remove a permanent fixed implant-supported bridge?
Yes, but only under special circumstances and only by your dentist. Your dentist may decide to remove a fixed bridge because of an accident, severe damage, or other emergency reason. This is not a common thing to see, or have done.
Schedule a dental exam and dental bridge consultation in our Charlotte dental practice today. Do you want to see if dental bridges are right for you? Call Dr. Greg Reece at 704-486-8911 or request a consultation. The professionals at Dentistry of the Queen City provide high-quality care to patients of all ages.