Whether it’s the result of an injury, tooth decay, infection, or illness, losing teeth can hurt your self-esteem and make it hard to eat and speak.
If you’re missing a tooth (or several teeth), you should know that there are many options available to restore the health and appearance of your smile. Dental bridges are a great permanent solution to replace missing teeth. They look and function like real teeth, and with proper dental care, they can last your whole life.
In this month’s post, we’ll go over:
- Why it’s important to replace missing teeth
- How dental bridges work
- What to expect if you get a dental bridge
Is it really necessary to replace missing teeth?
There are a few rare situations where a dentist might recommend simply leaving a small gap rather than replacing a tooth. In general though, replacing missing teeth is the best option for your health.
Not replacing missing teeth can lead to:
- Movement of the adjacent teeth
- An uneven and uncomfortable bite
- Gum disease (especially if there is an empty socket in your gums)
- Deterioration of your jaw bone, eventually causing a sunken-face look
- Favoring one side of your mouth, which can lead to TMJ pain
Many people delay getting treatment for missing teeth because they’re worried about the cost. Unfortunately, the longer you wait to address a dental problem, the more costly it becomes to treat it. Dental bridges are usually at least partly covered by insurance. We accept most insurance plans. For those without insurance, we offer flexible payment and financing options to make sure you can get the care you need, no matter your budget.
How do dental bridges work?
A dental bridge works by “bridging” the gap between your teeth. We restore your missing tooth with a permanent replacement tooth. Then we use the teeth on either side to anchor the bridge securely in place. Your bridge will be made up of two different parts:
- A permanent replacement tooth to fill the space
- Crowns that attach to your existing teeth on either side
Some dental bridges have more than one replacement tooth and more than two crowns — it just depends where the missing teeth are and how many need to be replaced.
The best thing about dental bridges is that they look and function just like real teeth. Unlike dentures, they’re permanent. You’ll be able to eat, speak, and smile as if you never had missing teeth! It’s a durable and effective way to restore your smile and health.
Benefits of dental bridges
Here’s a quick summary of the biggest benefits of using a dental bridge to replace missing teeth:
- Stays securely in your mouth (unlike removable dentures)
- Lasts permanently with proper dental care
- Made from non-toxic, biocompatible material
- Promotes gum health
- Prevents bone loss and a sunken face look
- Allows you to eat normally and enjoy your favorite foods
What to expect if you’re considering dental bridges
First things first: if you have just recently lost a tooth or you’re experiencing pain, call a dentist in your area today and see if you can get an emergency appointment. We’re based in Ellicott City, MD and we’re always welcoming new patients. If you need emergency dental care, call us, and we’ll get you in as soon as possible.
At your first appointment, your dentist will look at your teeth and go over your options with you. If your tooth is broken, and part of it is still intact, it may be possible to restore your tooth with a crown. If you have one or more teeth missing, your dentist will most likely recommend either dental implants or a dental bridge.
Getting your dental bridge
If you’re ready, your dentist may be able to prepare your teeth for the bridge at the first visit. Next, you’ll most likely get impressions made of your teeth. These impressions will be used to make a bridge that fits perfectly in your mouth. Your dentist might also give you a temporary bridge to protect your teeth and gums while your permanent bridge is being made.
When your new bridge is ready, you’ll come back for your second appointment. Your dentist will put the bridge in and make sure it feels comfortable and looks great.
How to care for a dental bridge
If your mouth feels a little sensitive in the first few days after your appointment, don’t worry. Soon you won’t even notice your bridge! In the meantime, you might feel most comfortable avoiding hot and cold foods and switching to a toothpaste designed for sensitive teeth for a little while.
The areas around bridges are common places for gum disease and tooth decay, so good oral care is extremely important. If cared for properly, a bridge will last permanently. Follow your dentist’s instructions for brushing and flossing around your bridge, and don’t be afraid to ask for a demonstration.
Here’s a quick checklist for your dental bridge care:
- Brush twice a day with a soft toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste
- Floss daily between your teeth and under the bridge, according to your dentist’s directions
- Ask your dentist if they recommend using a mouthwash as an added protection against gum disease and tooth decay
- Schedule your regular cleaning and dental exam at least twice a year
- Talk to your dentist if you notice any change or discomfort
Our approach to dental care for missing teeth
Whether you’ve just recently lost a tooth or you’ve been living with missing teeth for a while, we’re here to help you get your smile and your health back. At Ellicott City Smile Care, our focus is on high-tech dentistry and compassionate, gentle care. We always recommend the most advanced, minimally invasive procedures that have the best outcomes for your health.
Even if you haven’t been to the dentist for years, we’re here to help. We’ll listen to your concerns, answer all your questions, and help you decide on the best treatment for replacing your lost teeth. We want to help you feel better and get your smile back.
Call us at (410) 964-9816 to set up an appointment. If you’re in pain, please let us know, and we’ll schedule an emergency appointment to help you get relief quickly.
Dr. Levy graduated cum laude from SUNY at Buffalo School of Dental Medicine and trained in a General Practice residency at New York Medical College. He is a member of a number of dental organizations, including the Buffalo-based dental volunteer outreach program, B.O.C.A. Dr. Levy is dedicated to providing the highest quality of patient care with the most up-to-date, advanced dental technologies.