If you have lost one or more teeth, it can be more than just a nuisance when you are eating. Missing teeth can take a toll on both your self-esteem and your oral health. Fortunately, patients in the Dunedin, Florida, area have multiple options at Lepore Comprehensive Dentistry for replacing missing teeth. If you are missing one or more teeth in a row, then a dental bridge may be an excellent tooth restoration option for you.
How dental bridges work
Dental bridges consist of one or more natural-looking, custom-designed false teeth called pontics that “bridge” the gap left by missing teeth. They are anchored by crowns placed on the teeth adjacent to the gap. Dental bridges are an excellent solution for missing teeth that:
- Prevent your other teeth from shifting into the gap
- Keep your bite healthy
- Restore your ability to eat and speak normally
- Boost your self-confidence
Bridges can be made from either porcelain attached to a metal framework or fabricated from one of the modern ceramic materials if you prefer a metal-free option. The adjacent teeth that will be “capped” with crowns to support the bridge will be prepared so the crowns can be placed on them. Then, after taking impressions of your mouth, the bridge will be created to look like your natural teeth so it blends in seamlessly with your smile. Once it is ready, it is permanently bonded with dental cement into your mouth so you can eat your favorite foods and smile without worrying again.
A bridge is used to replace a missing tooth. It uses teeth on either side of the missing tooth for support. The bridge can be metal, ceramic, or ceramic covering metal. It typically requires multiple appointments to complete the process of getting a bridge.
At the first appointment, your doctor will take an impression or mold of your teeth for the temporary bridge. Next, the teeth on either side of the missing tooth are prepared to make room for the bridge. They will become the support structure for your new tooth. At this point, another impression is taken of the prepared teeth, which will be used to craft the final bridge. In the meantime, a temporary bridge is made and put into place while your final restoration is being expertly constructed by a dental laboratory.
At a subsequent appointment, the temporary bridge is removed. The final bridge is fitted and attached to your teeth.
Once completed, the area is now restored to optimal function and appearance.
While a bridge is a great option to replace a missing tooth, dental implants also sometimes offer superior long-term results. Dr. Lepore or Dr. Dougherty will discuss which option is best for your unique circumstance.
Both a bridge and a dental implant are excellent solutions for replacing a missing tooth and restoring function to the affected area. In most cases, both will require multiple appointments to complete. There are some differences between the two solutions that you will want to discuss with your doctor as you plan your treatment.
A bridge is a restoration that attaches a replacement tooth by using teeth on either side of the missing tooth for support. The primary advantage of a bridge is the time it requires to fully complete. Bridges can generally be completed in a matter of weeks. However, the primary disadvantage of the bridge is that it requires reducing the neighboring teeth for support, which sometimes involves reducing healthy tooth material. Additionally, since it does not replace the missing root structure, you are at an increased risk of bone loss over time. Another disadvantage is the extensive maintenance needed to keep a bridge clean and healthy. Frequent cleaning with special threaded floss is necessary to prevent bacteria build-up which can result in irritation and gum loss.
Another option for replacing a missing tooth is a dental implant. A dental implant serves as an artificial root which then anchors the replacement tooth in place. One major advantage of an implant is that it substitutes the root structure of the missing tooth. Given that the roots serve the function of stabilizing and maintaining healthy bone tissue, an implant continues to help protect and preserve the area in a similar fashion. In addition, since this is a self-supporting restoration, it can be cared for just like any natural tooth. It also does not require removal of potentially healthy structure from the neighboring teeth.
One potential drawback to a dental implant can be the time span needed to complete the procedure. In such cases, your doctor can place a temporary tooth in the empty space while you heal. As with any procedure, many additional factors must be taken into account. They should be discussed with your doctor so that the right choice can be made based upon your unique needs.
Call us to learn more
At Lepore Comprehensive Dentistry, we understand the value that a terrific, healthy smile has on all areas of your life. Dr. Lepore or Dr. Dougherty will thoroughly evaluate your teeth and gums before making recommendations on the best tooth replacement options for you. He takes the time to answer any questions you have, discuss the pros and cons of each choice, and learn what you like and don’t like aesthetically so he can custom design your treatment just for you.
Stop hiding your smile, and call us today to learn more about your tooth replacement options! Our Dunedin, FL, office can be reached at (727) 608-4690.