Many people are missing a tooth or some teeth. It’s not a good idea to leave the space in your smile. Your options are dental implants or dental bridges. While not as enduring as implants, bridges provide a good tooth replacement option for our patients.
What is a Dental Bridge?
Why Should I Replace My Missing Tooth With A Bridge?
Many people choose not to replace a missing tooth, especially if the missing tooth is a molar. This is a bad idea for many reasons. Your teeth stay in place due to the pressure placed upon them by the adjacent teeth on each side. When a tooth or teeth are gone, so is that pressure, so the teeth tend to slide over into the gap. This creates alignment and bite problems. Also, when you bite and chew, a tremendous amount of bite force energy is created. This energy transfers through the teeth down into the jawbone beneath them. It is this energy that signals the jawbone to continually shed old cells and produce new bone mass, the tenets of a healthy jawbone. When a tooth is missing, the jawbone beneath the gap immediately begins to erode.
Here are some reasons to replace a tooth with a bridge:
- Complete your smile
- Prevent tooth movement
- Restore chewing and biting in the area
- Distribute your bite across various teeth
- Restore diction
- Maintain jawbone health
Dental Bridge Process
Placing a bridge with Dr. Slepchik usually takes two appointments. During the first appointment, we prepare the abutment teeth for their crowns and take measurements and photos for your bridge. To prepare the teeth, Dr. Slepchik shaves off a portion of the healthy teeth on all sides and the top. This makes room for the crowns to sit atop the teeth, covering them all the way down to the gum line. Next, we take precise impressions, along with photos, of your teeth with Itero ,our digital impression system. No more goop for you. These are sent off to the dental lab for the creation of your custom bridge. That process takes two weeks, so in the meantime, Dr. Slepchik creates a temporary bridge and places it on your prepared teeth.
When your new bridge is delivered to our downtown Montreal office, you return for your second appointment. Dr. Slepchik checks the bridge for fit and colour match with your adjacent teeth. He’ll adjust the fit according to your feedback. In some cases, he may place the bridge with temporary cement to allow you to test it out for a couple days of normal use. Once you’re satisfied with the fit, the bridge is permanently cemented onto your teeth and your smile is complete once again. You can use your bridge immediately.
Types of Bridges
There are the types of bridges done in our dental office:Traditional bridge — This is the bridge described at the top of the page, consisting of two crowned abutment teeth with a false tooth or teeth between them. These are the most common bridges. Dr. Slepchik uses allporcelain for the crowns and the false tooth.
Cantilever bridge — In cases where the missing tooth or teeth have adjacent teeth on only one side of the gap, a cantilever bridge is used. More like a balcony than a bridge, cantilever bridges crown two teeth on the one side to use as anchors.
How Long Will A Dental Bridge Last?
Advantages of a Tooth Bridge
Dental Bridges vs. Dental Implants
Dr. Lenny Slepchik believes dental implants are the superior option for replacing a missing tooth. An implant is anchored by a titanium screw that is placed in the jawbone and then becomes a part of the jaw as the bone grows around it. A post is attached to the “implant” and an artificial tooth is attached to the post. Because implants are anchored into the jawbone, they function exactly like a natural tooth. They are incredibly strong, don’t require any changes in what you eat, and they often will last the remainder of the patient’s life.
Dental bridges are less expensive initially, particularly for replacing more than one missing tooth. However, bridges only last around a decade, so you will need to replace your bridge at least once or twice, depending on your age. This can make the cost closer to that of an implant. Bridge wearers also need to be cognizant of what they eat, as overly chewy, sticky foods can sometimes dislodge or damage the bridge. Plus, habits such as chewing ice can damage your bridge.