Cavities in your teeth can be painful. A crooked tooth can make your smile less than perfect. And stained or discolored teeth can be embarrassing. Still, these dental situations are just annoyances compared to the loss of a tooth, or worse yet, several teeth. According to the American Dental Association, the average adult between 20 and 64 years of age has at least three decayed or missing teeth.
Missing teeth can change how you speak, make it difficult to eat, allow other teeth to get out of place, and even lead to tooth decay and additional tooth loss. That’s why replacing missing teeth is one of the most important dental corrections you can make to keep your teeth — in fact, your whole body — healthy. And one of the best ways to replace missing teeth is with a dental bridge.
What is a Dental Bridge?
A common way to connect two things — ideas, cultures, musical genres — is described as “bridging the gap.” It’s an idiom with a meaning that seems crystal clear. And one that applies perfectly to a common means of replacing missing teeth: a dental bridge. A dental bridge is just that — a device that bridges the gap between two (or more) missing teeth, by inserting the same number of artificial teeth (called “pontic teeth”) into the gap and connecting them to natural teeth (called “abutment teeth”). Dental bridges have been used regularly since the early 1900s and were by far the preferred way to replace teeth for decades. Today, four basic styles of dental bridges are available and affordable.
These are the most common type of dental bridge because, usually, if you lose a tooth or teeth you still have natural teeth on both sides of the gap. A traditional bridge uses these natural teeth to hold the “bridge” that replaces the missing teeth. The natural teeth are crowned, and the bridge is placed between them. It is then secured by cement to the crowns on the natural teeth. Most often made of porcelain fused to a metal base, these bridges are strong enough to withstand the force from chewing or biting, and therefore can be used to replace molars
This type of bridge is basically a specialized version of a traditional bridge that is used when only one side of the gap is next to a natural tooth. The bridge is attached to the single natural tooth in the same way as in a traditional bridge — cemented to a crown — but only on one end. Less stable than a bridge with two abutment teeth, these bridges are not sturdy enough to be used in the back of the mouth, where the force of chewing and biting could damage them
Also called a resin-bonded bridge, this is an adaptation of a traditional bridge, and is made of porcelain fused to metal, porcelain alone, or plastic supported by metal. Often preferred for replacing teeth in the front of the mouth, these bridges do not require that your natural teeth be crowned. Instead, they receive their support from metal or porcelain “wings” that are cemented to the backs of the adjacent teeth. Because of this, a Maryland bridge is only as strong as the bonding cement it’s attached with and, like the cantilever bridge, is not recommended to replace molars.
Considered the strongest, most stable bridge of the four types, an implant-supported bridge is just what the name implies: a bridge supported by implants installed in the jawbone. These bridges usually require a minimum of two surgeries, one to install the implants (each missing tooth is replaced with an individual implant) and one to place the bridge. In cases where an implant isn’t possible for a missing tooth, a pontic tooth is used instead and suspended between two implant-supported crowns. Due to the healing process after an implant, it can take several months for an implant-supported bridge procedure to be completed.
What Are The Benefits of a Dental Bridge?
Over and above simply filling an unsightly gap in your smile, there are a number of advantages to replacing missing teeth with a professional dental bridge. A bridge can keep the teeth surrounding the hole from shifting around, maintain your natural bite so you eat normally, and provide the same structure your lost teeth did to support your speech. It also makes it easier to manage a thorough and effective oral hygiene routine and leaves your mouth feeling as natural and as comfortable as it was before.
Dental bridges are usually rather small and lightweight, and ordinarily, getting used to a dental bridge is easy. They help you look like you did before tooth loss, by maintaining the natural shape of your face and, because of the availability of modern materials, they look the same in color and shape as your remaining natural teeth.
Caring for Dental Bridges
Of course, like your natural teeth, a dental bridge needs care and attention. It’s vital that all your natural teeth stay healthy and strong. The success of any dental bridge is dependent on what it’s attached to, be it implants, crowns, or natural teeth, so preventing problems, particularly in the abutment teeth, is critical.
Most dental bridges last at least five to seven years. But with good oral hygiene — flossing and brushing daily and getting regular professional dental cleanings and checkups — they can last ten years or longer. At Lifetime Dental Health, we can show you how to effectively care for your bridge and advise you on what foods are likely to cause problems.
Don’t go through life with missing teeth. It can compromise the teeth you still have, encouraging tooth decay, contributing to gum disease, and even causing the loss of more teeth. We can help! Whether you’ve lost a single tooth or several, contact us for a free consultation and learn how quickly you can enjoy a full set of teeth again.
Our smiles are the first things that other people see when they’re meeting us, so it’s important that we have ones that reflect who we are. When there’s something wrong with our smiles, especially if a tooth replacement is needed, it can be difficult to make a good first impression — particularly if the gaps in our smile make us self-conscious and less likely to show it off.
Luckily, there are many options for dental patients to choose from when it comes to replacing those missing teeth. You’ll soon find your smile restored — along with your confidence in it.
Why do I need a tooth replacement?
Tooth replacements can occur after a sudden accident that robs us of a tooth, or even after planned extractions.
Replacing a missing tooth can go much further than simply fixing a smile. You will likely also find your speech and chewing improved.
What options are available for a tooth replacement?
In general, there are three main options when it comes to replacing missing teeth:
Dental Implants – Implants are designed to be permanent, eventually fusing to your existing jaw bone and looking like the teeth you lost.
Bridges – Bridges can be permanent or removable, and use your remaining natural teeth to support the replacement tooth or teeth.
Dentures – Dentures are removable and are designed to mimic a full set of teeth. They are used when there are multiple natural teeth missing.
What should I be aware of when it comes to tooth replacements
Every tooth replacement has its pros and cons, so make sure you do your research before committing to one. The dental team at Lifetime Dental Health would be happy to answer your tooth replacement questions during your next appointment, so don’t hesitate to ask.
Dental implants are often an excellent option to permanently replace a missing tooth. If you are a good candidate for this procedure, it’s because you have good bone quality and volume, which is necessary for the implant to properly fuse. Implants can last many years with the proper maintenance, and their appearance is virtually indistinguishable from your other teeth. However, this procedure can take time to heal — up to several months — and can be pricey.
Bridges can be more affordable options than dental implants, and can come in a variety of forms. Some bridges are permanent, offering the convenience and security of a natural smile. Others are removable. However, it can be difficult to properly clean bridges, and they are not as sturdy or long-lasting as other tooth replacement options.
Dentures are the best option when it comes to replacing multiple teeth with a natural-looking smile. They remove for your comfort and ease of cleaning. However, dentures can slip and slide in your mouth, causing you potential discomfort and embarrassment or slurring of words while speaking.
How can Lifetime Dental Health help with replacing my tooth?
Lifetime Dental Health is proud to offer our patients a variety of different services when it comes to tooth replacements. Every member of our dental team wants to make sure you have a smile you’re comfortable with showing off.
Sometimes, a missing tooth can happen suddenly, necessitating a dental emergency. That’s why Lifetime Dental Health offers emergency dental services — including same-day appointments if possible. We know that losing a tooth in an accident can be painful and shocking, and we want to make sure that you’re feeling like yourself again as soon as possible. If you lose a tooth and are able to find it, call us right away. Avoid touching the root of the tooth. Store it safely in the original socket in your mouth or in a glass of milk and get yourself into the office as soon as possible so we can try to save it.
We are pleased to use the latest technology available for our dental patients when it comes to replacing a missing tooth — or several teeth. This includes traditional implants, bridges, dentures, and mini implants.
Our bridge options include the non-removable Zirconia Bridge, which entails up to 12 implants for a comfortable and permanent solution, and the Fix on Six Zirconia Bridge, a semi-removable option with as few as six implants.
Our acrylic dentures are great options for fixing a smile with multiple gaps and can be offered securely with as few as four implants. This helps achieve a sturdier and more secure fit for your removable dentures.
Mini implants are a cheaper alternative to traditional implants, which we also offer. However, mini implants can be fitted in just an hour, allowing you to get on with your busy schedule – while having the confidence to keep smiling. Mini implants are less invasive than their traditional counterparts and don’t take as long to heal. If you have a thin bone structure, this is the procedure for you, as mini implants utilize metal frameworks to anchor the tooth replacement.
If you are interested in learning more about your tooth replacement options, or getting an appointment scheduled, call us at Lifetime Dental Health today at (614) 333-9442.
We all have a thing or two about ourselves that we would like to change or improve. Some people may want longer hair, smaller feet, or maybe the perfect smile!
It is perfectly okay to want to make changes here and there to satisfy your personal wants.
Read on to learn about ways to achieve your dream smile with the help of cosmetic dentistry!
What is cosmetic dentistry?
The simplest way to define cosmetic dentistry is procedures that are used to enhance someone’s teeth to create a flawless smile. There are many procedures available for you to obtain the perfect smile; the method will vary for each person and depends on the work that is needed.
What are the benefits of cosmetic dentistry?
1. Prevents Future Dental Damage
The main benefit of cosmetic dentistry is that it can prevent future dental damage. Aside from improving the appearance of ones’ smile, ideally, the cosmetic procedures focus on improving the size, shape, position, alignment, and color of the patient’s teeth. Correcting or fixing these things ultimately eliminate additional dental work down the line, assuming the patient continues practicing preventative care.
2. Increases confidence
Your smile is generally the first thing that someone sees. Many people that do not have a smile that they are proud of, find themselves being self-conscious, and they try their best to avoid smiling or showing their teeth.
Increasing your self-confidence can often open new doors in your life.
3. Improved Health
Aside from repairing typical dental issues such as tooth decay and gum disease, cosmetic dentistry can also improve other health factors such as diabetes and kidney issues, to name a few.
It has been proven that most people who have poor oral hygiene often also suffer from other health issues such as diabetes and kidney issues, as mentioned above.
Once a cosmetic dental procedure has been completed, and your smile has been restored, you would be much more likely to continue a proper oral hygiene routine — ultimately improving your overall health.
What are the disadvantages to cosmetic dentistry?
Many cosmetic dental procedures can be costly for most people. The price varies depending on the work required and the procedure chosen.
Cosmetic dentistry is not unaffordable; in fact, ask us about payment plans to assist patients with financial need.
This disadvantage ties together with the previous one. Most dental insurance providers will not cover cosmetic procedures; this leaves the patient to pay out of pocket or reach out for financial assistance through the practice or even a financial institution. However, there are some dental procedures that are both cosmetic and beneficial for your overall health that can be covered by insurance.
What cosmetic dentistry options do I have?
There are many cosmetic dental treatments available. A few of the most common procedures are:
Bonding is similar to the veneer procedure. The difference primarily lies in the material used. Bonding is aimed at decayed, chipped, and even fractured teeth. The material composite resin (plastic) is used during the repair. The repair is completed in a single visit.
The disadvantage of choosing the bonding procedure is that the composite resin material that is used is not as durable as the natural tooth. So biting fingernails, eating ice, and chewing on other hard things can cause the material to chip.
The bonding procedure generally lasts two to four years before needing to be repaired; this timeframe also depends on how well the teeth are taken care of during that time. With proper care, bondings can last much longer.
Fillings are a way to repair a tooth that has been damaged by decay. A tooth is filled with either gold, silver (Amalgam), composite (plastic), or porcelain.
The filling used will depend on the type of damage done to the teeth.
Each filling has its advantages and disadvantages, ranging from cost, durability, and additional procedure time.
Crowns are also known as “caps.” They act as a cover that goes over a tooth. Crowns can be considered both a cosmetic procedure and non-cosmetic procedure, depending on the damage to the tooth or teeth. The idea is to restore the shape, size, and overall appearance of the tooth. There are also three different types of crowning options.
Each crown option has its own disadvantage, ranging from cost, fit, and fragility.
4. Dental implants
Dental implants are the replacement of the root of a tooth or teeth. A metal piece is placed into the bone socket. The metal piece is then covered by a type of crown, which acts as the new tooth.
One of the main disadvantages of dental implants is the cost. This procedure is one of the most expensive cosmetic dental procedures available. Another possible concern is that the procedure is a surgical procedure. Any surgical procedure carries some risks to the patient.
Veneers are primarily used when someone is experiencing issues with chipped teeth, teeth that are oddly shaped and even gaps between teeth. A very thin cover is placed over the tooth or teeth to obtain a more appealing look.
Since the enamel is removed during this procedure, one of the main disadvantages is that the tooth or teeth receiving the veneer may become extremely sensitive to hot and cold food and drinks.
Veneers are simply a way to make your teeth look better and do not prevent decay.
Bridges are meant to close or “bridge” the gap created by one or more missing teeth. These are also known as false teeth and often are anchored by crowns.
One of the main disadvantages of dental bridges is that the structure of the patient teeth can be changed after the bridge has been placed. Also, tooth decay can still present itself if the bridges are not fitted properly.
If you are thinking about investing in your smile with cosmetic dentistry contact us at Lifetime Dental, 614-333-9442. Our professional dental staff will be more than happy to assist you with any questions.
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