Dental bridges are natural-looking tooth replacements that help maintain facial structure, reduce stress on the jaw and fill in the gaps caused by missing teeth.
A dental bridge can be used to:
- Restore an attractive smile
- Reduce the risk of gum disease
- Restore the ability to bite and chew
- Improve speech
- Prevent remaining teeth from drifting out of position
Types Of Dental Bridges
There are three main types of bridges:
Also known as fixed bridges, traditional bridges are used to replace one or more missing teeth. The procedure involves creating a crown for the tooth or implant on either side of the missing tooth, with a pontic, or a false tooth, in between. Fixed bridges are the most common type of dental bridges and are either made out of porcelain.
The Dental Bridge Procedure
There are several steps that are taken in order to create a bridge:
The adjacent teeth must be prepared. This involves removing some of the enamel to allow room for the crown to be placed over them.
Impressions of the teeth are made. These will be sent to a laboratory so a bridge, a false tooth or pontic, and crowns can be created to fit the unique configuration of the patient’s mouth. During the 2 to 3 weeks while the bridge is being manufactured, the patient will be given a temporary dental bridge to protect the exposed teeth and gums.
During the next dental visit, the temporary bridge will be removed and replaced with the new, permanent bridge. The doctor will make sure the bridge fits properly and cement it to the teeth.
Recovery After A Dental Bridge Placement
Replacing missing teeth should make eating easier, but until they get used to the bridge, patients are advised to eat soft food cut into small pieces. For a few weeks after receiving a bridge, it is common to experience increased sensitivity to extreme temperatures. Patients will also notice a difference in their speech which will become clearer with the permanent bridge in place.
Results Of A Dental Bridge
With good oral hygiene, a dental bridge will last from 5 to 15 years, sometimes longer. Patients must remember to practice proper care of their teeth and gums to prevent the build-up of bacteria and formation of plaque. Regular dental visits and cleanings will still be required.
A dental crown is a restoration that covers or caps a tooth, restoring it to its normal size and shape while strengthening and improving its appearance. Crowns are necessary when the tooth is broken down to the point where a filling will not be effective.
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Benefits of Dental Crowns
A dental crown can be used for various reasons including covering discolored or misshapen teeth, and in conjunction with bridges and dental implants. Other benefits of dental crowns may include:
- Holding a cracked tooth together to prevent further damage
- Covering and supporting a tooth with a large filling
- Restoring a broken tooth
- Dental Crown Procedure
The dental crown process takes place in one phases or appointment. the tooth is prepared by filing or reshaping, so the crown can fit in securely and comfortably. The area around the tooth is numbed throughout the procedure with a local anesthetic. After the tooth is prepared, an impression is made of the teeth and gums.
These crowns provide the best natural color of all the dental crowns. They are the most cosmetically pleasing.
Complications Of Dental Crowns
Some patients experience increased sensitivity immediately after the procedure, particularly if the crowned tooth still has a nerve in it. For sensitivity to heat and cold, some patients are advised to use toothpaste for sensitive teeth. Other complications that may occur with dental crowns are:
Pain Or Sensitivity When Biting
This usually means that the crown is too high on the tooth. If this is the case, the dentist will be able to fix the problem by adjusting the crown.
Chip In A Porcelain Crown
Resin can be used to repair the remaining crown. If the chipping is extensive, the entire crown may need to be replaced.
Loose Dental Crown
If the cement washes out from underneath the crown, bacteria can then leak in and cause decay. A dentist should be consulted to resecure the crown to alleviate the problem.
In some cases, a dental crown may fall off entirely. If this happens, contact the dentist immediately. The dentist may be able to replace the crown or create a new crown if necessary.
With proper oral hygiene, dental crowns can last from five to fifteen years. Patients should consult with their dentist to see if dental crowns are appropriate for their individual condition.