knowledge for peace of mind
Are you missing one or more teeth? A dental bridge is a replacement option that can restore from one to five missing teeth. Bridges can restore your smile while improving your ability to eat and speak.
what are dental bridges?
Dental bridges are a restorative option dentists use to replace missing teeth. They anchor to the teeth adjacent to the missing area and bridge the gap between the teeth. Bridges can be be of different sizes, involving 3, 4, or 5 units depending on the number of missing teeth. Just like crowns, dental bridges can be made of gold, silver, porcelain, or combination of porcelain and metal.
you might need
a dental bridge if …
Dental bridges are a replacement option for missing teeth. If you are missing one or more teeth, a dental bridge can be used as a replacement option.
If you are missing teeth and would like to:
- regain confidence in smiling
- improve eating
- improve speaking
- maintain teeth in correct place
- reestablish the proper balance of chewing forces
what to expect during the process of a dental bridge
Having a dentist create a dental bridge to replace missing teeth typically involves two appointments at our office. Read on for timings and how to prepare.
At your first visit
X-ray & Exam: Expect a few X-rays to be taken at your visit. The dentist will evaluate the X-rays and complete an examination to determine whether a dental bridge is required. The mouth will be examined and a a plan created that reflects the required bridge design.
Preparation: To reduce any potential discomfort, a local anesthetic will be administered to numb the teeth and gums. Typically, the numbness will last a few hours.
Removal of Affected Tooth Structure: Once the area is numb, the teeth adjacent to the missing area will be cleaned and prepared for a bridge with specialized dental instruments. It is common to feel some vibration in the area during the procedure.
Impression: Once the dentist has completed the proper tooth preparation for your future bridge, a highly detailed dental impression will be taken to accurately capture the shape for the prepared tooth. This will be sent to a professional laboratory for the bridge to be fabricated.
Temporary Bridge: Immediately following the impression, a temporary bridge will be fabricated for you. The purpose of the temporary bridge is to cover the prepared tooth structure and bring the teeth back to their original shape. The temporary bridge may feel similar to your original tooth, but it’s important to keep in mind that the material is not as strong as the final bridge. Please refer to our advice panel to keep your temporary bridge safe.
advice & tips
keeping your temporary bridge safe
After your first visit, but before your permanent bridge is in place, you’ll be able to eat and drink but with some precautions in place. Here is some guidance to keep your procedure moving well.
- We recommend chewing on the opposite side of the mouth while wearing a temporary bridge.
- Refrain from eating anything sticky.
- It’s important to floss your temporary bridge by advancing the floss between the teeth as normal but instead of pulling the floss out the same way it went in, bite down and pull the floss out from the side. This will reduce the chances of you inadvertently pulling off your temporary bridge while flossing.
- Certain areas of your bridge will need to be flosed with a bridge threader. We will provide a sample pack and show you how to properly use them during your visit.
If your temporary bridge IS dislodged prior to your return to the office for placement of the permanent bridge, please call our office so we can replace it for you.
two weeks later–your second visit
It will take approximately two weeks for your bridge to be fabricated and returned to the office for your second visit. During this second appointment, the temporary bridge will be removed and the permanent bridge placed, adjusted and fit verified by X-ray. If you are experiencing any sensitivity, the area can be numbed just as it was during the first visit. Once the dentist has confirmed that the bridge fits properly, it will be permanently cemented in place. Our permanent cement fully hardens by the time the appointment is over, allowing you to go on with your day without worrying about the bridge becoming dislodged.
While you're familiarizing yourself with this procedure, make sure you also visit our section on how we treat you during your care with a range of nice-to-have and need-to-have patient comforts.
Distraction Methods – Therapeutic interventions – Pain management
after your dental bridge is placed…
To ensure the best outcome for the procedure, it is
- Practice the same recommended oral hygiene measures as you would with your normal teeth–twice a day brushing with a fluoride toothpaste and good flossing techniques.
- Reduce excessive biting force–like chewing on ice.
- Visit the dentist for cleaning and checkups regularly.
You may notice…
A small percentage of patients will experience minor temperature sensitivity after a bridge. This usually dissipates with time. If it does not, it is important to let the dentist know.
If you experience biting sensitivity after your appointment and it is not going away, please contact the office.
dental bridge faqs
answering your questions about bridge…
Will I be able to remove the bridge?
No, the dental bridge is permanently cemented in place. By the time you leave our office, the cement will have hardened which means you can go on with your day without worrying about the bridge becoming dislodged.
How long will a dental bridge last?
You should expect your bridge to last approximately 8-15 years. The broad range depends on your oral hygiene practice and personal habits such as chewing ice, grinding teeth, nutrition etc. One of the most common reasons for a bridge replacement is due to cavities towards the middle of the bridge where floss must be threaded underneath to properly clean. A floss threader is a tool to help bring floss underneath a bridge. We can offer guidance on how to maximize the lifespan of your new investment.
How long will the appointments take to fit a bridge?
There will be two appointments, each lasting 60-90 minutes.
How long after a bridge is placed do I have to wait to eat and drink?
The permanent cement used to fix your bridge in place will harden before you leave the office. However, as you might experience numbness for a few hours we recommend waiting a few hours before eating or drinking.
Have more questions? Please call us at 480-608-5444 or email us and we’ll be able to talk you through the process.
Tips & advice from Dr. Silverman:
Do you like my funny glasses?