Dental Bridges in Austin, TX
Over 54% of Texans aged 45-64 have had at least one permanent tooth extracted due to tooth decay or gum disease, but tooth loss can affect anyone. Whether you have lost a permanent tooth due to decay, disease, trauma, injury, or bruxism, it is important to replace it swiftly. Dental bridges are an excellent option for replacing one or more teeth in a row, restoring both function and aesthetics.
At Aspire Dental, we believe that everyone deserves a beautiful and functional smile. For over 15 years, Dr. Hall and Dr. McNeil have helped patients restore their smiles and regain their quality of life through personalized dental solutions like dental bridges.
What Are Dental Bridges?
If you have lost a tooth or need an extraction, we provide various replacement options at Aspire Dental. One of these is a dental bridge, which “bridges” the gap left by a missing tooth.
Bridges are a fixed (non-removable) replacement solution for patients who have lost one or more consecutive teeth in a single area of the mouth. A traditional dental bridge looks like a row of artificial teeth with dental crowns on each end. These crowns fit over the natural teeth on both sides of the gap. The pontic, or fake tooth, “floats” between the crowns to fill in the gap in your smile.
The Purpose of Dental Bridges
When suffering from tooth loss, it is important to replace missing teeth quickly with a restoration like a dental bridge. Dental bridges serve several key purposes, including:
- Stop teeth from shifting: When you lose a tooth, neighboring teeth will shift toward the gap. Bridges block the teeth, preventing movement that leads to misalignment. Misaligned teeth alter your bite, making eating and chewing difficult. Overlapping teeth are also tougher to clean effectively. With a bridge, you don’t have to worry about these concerns.
- Restore your bite force: Eating is a challenge when teeth are missing. Healthy eating is even harder. Many people with missing teeth adapt their diets, favoring foods that are easy to eat but not necessarily nutritious. By restoring your chewing function, bridges allow you to eat a healthy, well-balanced diet.
- Repair your smile and improve your self-confidence: Gaps in your smile can be embarrassing, causing changes in your daily life. Some people avoid social interactions because of lowered self-esteem, while others hesitate to laugh or smile. By restoring your smile, dental bridges help improve your self-confidence.
- Remedy speech issues: You may have noticed that pronouncing certain words is difficult because of your missing tooth. The teeth play an important role in speaking clearly, so it’s no surprise that losing a tooth—especially a front tooth—presents speech challenges. Because they properly control airflow, bridges allow you to speak as you used to.
- Maintain good oral health: Besides halting shifting teeth, bridges prevent decay-causing bacteria from accumulating in the gap and causing cavities or gum disease. A bridge helps you to clean your teeth effectively by following a standard oral hygiene routine.
Dental Bridge Varieties
There are several types of dental bridges. The variety that is right for you will depend on the health of your existing teeth, the number of teeth missing, and the location of the gap in your mouth. At Aspire Dental, we collaborate with you to plan the most effective treatment that aligns with your needs, preferences, and budget.
Traditional Dental Bridges
A traditional dental bridge includes a row of artificial teeth with crowns on each end that fit over your natural teeth. In order for us to place a traditional bridge, the teeth on each side of the gap must be in good health. This is because your natural teeth support the restoration and absorb your chewing force. If the teeth aren’t healthy, the bridge won’t have the support it needs, making it more likely to fail.
A traditional bridge is fixed in place, so you’ll never need to remove it yourself. This stands in contrast to partial dentures, which are removable appliances.
A cantilever bridge is similar to a traditional bridge, but it only contains one crown. Like a diving platform, a cantilever bridge is secured on only one end. This is a good option when only one healthy tooth is next to the gap, such as for back molars. However, this means that all of your chewing pressure is placed on one tooth rather than two.
For both traditional and cantilever bridges, we will need to prepare the teeth for the crowns by removing some enamel.
Maryland Bonded Bridge
Maryland bonded bridges use a different anchoring system than traditional and cantilever bridges. Rather than cap the healthy natural teeth nearest to the gap, Maryland bonded bridges use support wings that attach to the back of adjacent teeth. This is the most conservative, least invasive option, as we don’t need to remove enamel to accommodate a crown. Because the framework attaches to the back of the teeth, a Maryland bridge is suitable for replacing front teeth or teeth lost by children and teenagers who are still developing.
An implant-supported bridge is possible with dental implant technology. Instead of relying on your natural teeth to support the bridge, Dr. Hall or Dr. McNeil will place mini dental implants into your jawbone to act as anchors for the restoration. The implants absorb and disperse chewing and bite forces so that excess pressure isn’t placed on healthy natural teeth. Plus, dental implants are the only restorative option that preserves the health of your jawbone following tooth loss.
Acting as tooth roots, the implants stimulate the jawbone when you eat, maintaining its volume and density.
At Aspire Dental, we can use mini implants to support single crowns, bridges, and dentures.
The Procedure for Dental Bridges
Getting a dental bridge typically involves several key steps, from the initial consultation to the final placement.
The process begins with an initial consultation at Aspire Dental. During this visit, we’ll discuss your specific dental needs and goals. Dr. Hall or Dr. McNeil will assess the condition of your teeth, gums, and overall oral health. This information—along with X-rays and 3D scans—helps us to determine if a dental bridge is the right solution for you.
Once the decision is made to proceed with a dental bridge, the preparation phase begins. If the adjacent teeth are healthy but need reshaping to accommodate the bridge, we will carefully remove a small amount of enamel from these teeth. This allows for a snug fit for the bridge crowns. If you opt for an implant-supported bridge, we’ll place the implants instead.
Afterward, impressions of your teeth are taken to create a customized bridge that matches your natural teeth in color and shape. While your permanent bridge is being crafted at a dental laboratory (which can take 2-3 weeks), we will place a temporary bridge to protect the prepared teeth and maintain your appearance.
Once your custom bridge is ready, you will return to the office for the final placement. We will remove your temporary bridge at this appointment and check the new one for fit and comfort. If needed, we can make adjustments so that your bridge feels natural and functions correctly. Finally, we’ll secure your bridge by cementing it onto your prepared teeth or implants.
Overall, getting a dental bridge is a well-planned and personalized process that restores your smile’s aesthetics and function.
Regular check-ups and maintenance are essential to ensure the longevity of your dental bridge. With strong oral hygiene practices and routine visits to Aspire Dental, you can expect traditional dental bridges to last 15 years or longer.
Close the Gap in Your Smile with Dental Bridges
Dental bridges are restorative dental appliances that replace missing teeth, restoring both function and aesthetics to the oral cavity. From traditional bridges to modern implant-supported bridges, the team at Aspire Dental has a solution that fits your needs, goals, and budget.
Our practice offers comprehensive dentistry so that you and your family can get the care you need under one roof. From dental bridges and mini implants to Invisalign® and dental veneers, we have the skill and experience to transform your smile and improve your oral health.
Schedule a consultation today to learn if a dental bridge is right for you.