Types of Fixed Bridges
Losing your teeth is a serious issue that affects just about every aspect of your life. When you suffer tooth loss, basic tasks like eating and speaking become much more challenging. Your smile suffers. Your oral health suffers. Replacing missing teeth is essential. Shenandoah Family Dentistry can help to replace missing teeth with different types of fixed bridges.
What is a Traditional Fixed Bridge?
A traditional fixed bridge is a dental restoration that is used to replace a single missing tooth or up to three consecutive missing teeth. This restoration consists of a pontic tooth and two dental crowns. The pontic tooth is the replacement tooth, which fills in the empty space where your tooth used to be. The crowns sit on each side of the pontic tooth. They are there to anchor your bridge into place. The crowns fit over the adjacent teeth, or abutment teeth, holding the restoration securely in place.
How a Traditional Fixed Bridge is Placed
The process for getting a traditional fixed bridge typically takes two appointments. At the first appointment, the abutment teeth are prepared. Done under a local anesthetic, this process involves removing a portion of enamel from each tooth, making them smaller. This ensures that your bridge will fit properly in place. After your abutment teeth have been prepared, an impression of your mouth is taken. The impression is sent to our dental lab, where your custom restoration will be designed and created. While you wait for your second appointment, a temporary bridge is set into place. Once your bridge is ready, we check it for fit and assess your bite. If everything looks good, it is bonded into place.
Implant Supported Fixed Bridges
An implant supported bridge is used to replace two or more consecutive missing teeth, providing you with an alternative to a traditional fixed bridge or partial denture. This treatment uses dental implants to replace missing teeth. The posts are surgically placed into your jawbone and are used to provide support for your new teeth.
Placing Your Implant Supported Fixed Bridge
Placing an implant supported fixed bridge takes more time than placing a traditional bridge. This process begins with a surgical procedure. After a local anesthetic and sedation, incisions are made in your gums and holes are drilled into your jawbone. The posts are placed into the holes, and your gums are sutured closed. Temporary replacement teeth are placed.
Healing from implant surgery can take several weeks. During this time your bone fuses to the posts, which stabilizes them in your jaw. Several follow up appointments allow us to monitor your progress. Once you have fully healed, we take impressions of your mouth, which are sent to our dental lab. The lab designs and creates your final replacement teeth. At a second appointment, we check your new teeth for fit and bite and then secure them into place.
Which Option is Right for Me?
Traditional bridges require shorter treatment time, are minimally invasive, and are affordable. However, they require that we remove enamel from healthy teeth and cannot stop bone loss in your jaw, which requires the need for replacing the bridge every few years. Dental implants require surgery, a recovery process, and can be expensive. However, they protect your adjacent teeth, are very comfortable, and protect the strength of your jawbone. During your consultation, we will go over the differences between traditionally fixed bridges and implant supported bridges so that we can help to choose the best option to meet your needs.
Replacing missing teeth is essential for restoring your smile, your oral health, and your quality of life. For more information, and to find out which option is right for you, call Shenandoah Family Dentistry at (540) 667-8731 today.