Missing teeth cause more than just cosmetic concerns. They affect your bite pattern and make chewing or speaking more difficult. It’s important to pursue tooth replacement options for missing teeth to prevent further tooth loss from occurring. At Bethesda Family Smiles, we offer dental bridges as a tooth replacement option to patients who have suffered from tooth loss.
Perfect for patients missing one or more consecutive teeth, dental bridges cosmetically restore your smile and give your remaining dental structures additional support. Learn more about dental bridges below.
Dental Bridges in Bethesda, MD
Dr. Khanna is an experienced restorative dentist in Bethesda, MD. She helps patients restore their smiles following tooth loss using dental bridges. Our dental bridges are designed to discreetly hold a prosthetic tooth instead of a missing tooth to restore the look, feel, and function of your natural smile. We also offer other tooth replacement options, such as dental implant restorations, dentures, and partials.
Traditional Dental Bridges
Traditional bridges use adjacent natural teeth to support your dental bridge. They can be either removable or fixed. We prepare your natural teeth to make room for the bridge. These teeth support the row of missing teeth that you’re replacing. It places a lot of wear and tear on these teeth.
They’re more likely to suffer from tooth decay, and wear down faster than normal teeth. We recommend fortifying the anchor teeth with dental crowns to avoid the extra stress on your teeth. But dental crowns still require the removal of tooth structure. You also don’t get back your full bite function with a traditional bridge. You won’t be able to eat the full range of foods that you want to because your bridge can’t handle them.
However, traditional bridges are cheaper than the implant-supported ones, a big benefit if you’re worried about your budget. You can also get that restoration quicker. Dental implants require a surgical procedure that has months of healing time before your restoration can be completed. A traditional bridge can be completed within a few short weeks.
Implant-Supported Dental Bridges
Instead of using your natural teeth, dental implants support this type of dental bridge. There’s no impact on your natural teeth like there is with traditional bridges. Beacause of the stability of dental implants, you get back more of your bite function. With an implant-supported bridge you can bite into things and not have to worry about your restoration damaging or falling out.
You get all of the benefits of dental implants as well, even though you only have two of them. They provide unmatched stability and you can take care of them like you would your normal teeth. If you’ve experienced bone loss, dental implants help regenerate bone growth. It can eliminate the sinking look of your face that comes with bone loss. They help stabilize your oral health and eliminate the higher risks associated with missing teeth.
The downsides to implant-supported bridges are the price and time it takes to get your complete restoration. Once the implants are surgically placed, you have to wait around 3-6 months for the to heal before you get your final restoration. Implants are also more costly than other options, because of this surgical element. You don’t just need the restoration, you also have to pay for the surgery and everything that comes with it.
Dental Bridge FAQs
What should I expect from the dental bridge procedure?
Dental bridges require the support of your surrounding teeth. When it is decided that you will receive a dental bridge, Dr. Khanna will prepare the supportive teeth by shaping them to make space for the dental bridge hardware. Once complete, she will take impressions and send them to our lab to construct your permanent dental bridge.
We will provide you with a temporary bridge to use while we wait for your permanent restoration to be made. Once your bridge is complete, we will call you back in for another appointment in which we will cement the restoration into your smile.
How should I maintain the health of my dental bridge?
Your dental bridge will need some additional oral hygiene care. You should ensure that you are brushing in and around your dental bridge to prevent food residue from getting caught in the hardware. Because dental bridges are completely external, unlike dental implants, which are protected by your own soft tissues, you should also avoid eating excessively crunchy or chewy foods as this may damage your dental restoration.
How long will my dental bridge last?
This largely depends on your dietary habits and oral hygiene routine. With the proper care, dental bridges can last up to ten years. However, many patients go anywhere from 5 to 7 years before needing a replacement.
How long does it take to adjust to my dental bridge?
When you get a new dental restoration, it feels different than your normal teeth. You also may have gotten used to how it feels with a lack of teeth in certain areas. It takes around two weeks to completely adjust to them. Once you’re adjusted, the bridge will feel natural in your mouth and you can use it as you would your natural teeth.
How do I clean my dental bridge?
Just like with your natural teeth, you must clean your dental bridge properly. With a removable bridge, you take it out every night so that you can clean the bridge. Use a denture brush or an extremely soft toothbrush, cold water, and non-abrasive toothpaste to clean the bridge. Abrasive toothpaste and hard bristles can scratch and damage your restoration. Hot water can warp it as well.
For a fixed dental bridge, you can brush it like you would your natural teeth. Still use a soft-bristled toothbrush and non-abrasive materials so you don’t damage the restoration. You can floss as you normally would, too. It can be hard to floss under fixed dental bridges sometimes. We’ll give you special tools and instructions so that you can ensure that you’re cleaning around the dental bridge properly, removing any food debris.
Am I a good candidate for a dental bridge?
Dental bridges replace one or multiple consecutive missing teeth. Many patients are eligible for a traditional dental bridge supported by your natural teeth. An implant-supported denture is a bit trickier. We have to ensure that you have enough healthy bone structure to support the dental bridge. We’ll perform a full examination to ensure an implant-supported denture is the right choice for you.