What does a dental bridge do?
A dental bridge literally bridges the gap between healthy teeth which is created by a missing tooth. The teeth surrounding the gap are used as supports and anchors for the bridge. A bridge effectively creates the illusion of a tooth where there isn’t one. It’s also useful for solving many of the problems caused by missing teeth.
Bridges are designed to look, feel and function just like your natural teeth. However, while bridges are a great option to disguise a missing tooth, they are not suitable for everyone. Here’s how to know if you are a good candidate for a dental bridge.
Click here to discover seven great advantages to dental bridges.
You are missing between one and three consecutive teeth
If you have one or more missing teeth that are affecting the way you talk or smile, you’re probably a good candidate for a bridge. One bridge can cover up to four missing consecutive teeth. However, a single bridge cannot be used for non-consecutive missing teeth.
Your surrounding teeth are strong and healthy
In order to support your bridge, the two teeth on either side of the missing tooth (or teeth) need to be strong and healthy. This includes having a strong tooth root. Broken, fractured or decayed teeth are not useful in providing a strong support for your bridge – and can actually cause the bridge to fail.
You have adequate jawbone density
The success and viability of a bridge depends heavily upon the amount of dense bone tissue that you have to support it. If your jawbone is not strong enough the bridge can eventually loosen and fail. If you have insufficient quantity and quality of jawbone to allow the process to take place, then bridges are not a realistic option for you.
You are free from gum disease and have good oral health
Before you can proceed with a dental bridge procedure, your teeth and gums need to be free from disease, decay and damage. Gum disease can cause recession of the gums, which may affect the fit and appearance of your bridge. Oral health issues can also cause both bone and tooth loss if left untreated. A healthy mouth will help minimise any possible complications and prevent future problems. Anyone with existing oral health problems will need to get them treated before proceeding with a bridge.
You are in reasonably good general health
The teeth surrounding the gap will need to be slightly modified to anchor the bridge. Shaping teeth for a bridge removes part of the tooth structure and will also affect the gums. You will need to be in sufficiently good general health to be able to undergo this procedure.
However, having major health conditions will not always disqualify you from getting a bridge. While some will definitely be problematic, some can be managed using pre-medication or other strategies. Talk to your dentist to determine if your health condition will disqualify you as a bridge candidate.
You are committed to maintaining good oral hygiene
Once you have a bridge, it’s very important to maintain an excellent standard of oral hygiene. This will help your bridge last as long as possible and prevent any disease or decay from occurring around the bridge. Having a bridge will not prevent oral problems from developing. And if they do develop, they are often much harder to reach and deal with under the bridge.
While your bridge won’t need any special treatment, you’ll have to give it the same high-level care that you’d give your natural teeth. You’ll need to do all the usual things, including:
- Using good brushing technique to brush your teeth twice a day
- Regularly flossing your teeth and gums
- Using mouthwash
- Scheduling regular dental check-ups to ensure the long-term health of your teeth and gums
- Having your teeth professionally cleaned on a regular basis (twice a year is recommended)
In summary, you are not a good candidate for a dental bridge if:
- You have dental problems which might require procedures such as a root canal, as these problem teeth might become infected or damaged over time
- You don’t have sufficient jawbone density to support a bridge
- The teeth surrounding the gap are weakened or diseased
- You have generally poor oral health
- You have a major medical condition that will impact upon the process
While this is a good guideline, the only way to know for sure if you are a strong candidate for a dental bridge is to meet with a dental expert. Contact Lentini Dental to speak to someone today.