Restore Your Grin with a Dental Bridge
When you lose teeth, whether due to gum disease, severe decay, or facial trauma, it affects the way you smile.
Many people who have lost teeth will try to keep their lips tight over their teeth when they smile, to avoid the embarrassment of showing people the gap in their grin.
Some just refuse to smile at all, giving others the impression that they are unhappy and antisocial. This does not have to happen.
At Maple Grove Dentistry, Dr. Russell Jensen can place a dental bridge that will make your smile whole again. Whether you choose a traditional dental bridge or one supported by dental implants, a dental bridge will make you smile again.
To learn more about the dental bridge options we offer, or to schedule an appointment, call our Boise, ID dental office today.
When Should You Choose a Dental Bridge?
If you have lost a tooth, or several in a row, to tooth decay, gum disease, facial trauma, or a blow to the mouth, you will have an open gap between your remaining teeth. Over time, the teeth around this gap can rotate or shift into the empty space left by the missing teeth.
This shifting can cause you to have an imbalanced bite, which in turn can lead to TMJ disorder or gum disease. If Dr. Jensen places a dental bridge before the teeth have a chance to rotate, he can prevent these problems and restore your smile to its original beauty.
Losing teeth can also lead to the degradation of your jawbone. The body can sense when you have lost a tooth, and it begins to divert the calcium and other nutrients it used to send to the tooth off to other parts of the body.
The lack of nutrients causes the bone of your jaw to start shrinking, which can eventually cause your face to have a sunken appearance. Dr. Jensen can place a bridge supported by dental implants to help stimulate that bone, keeping your face looking healthy.
How a Dental Bridge Works
A dental bridge closes the gap left between remaining teeth after the loss of a tooth, or several teeth in a row. The bridge consists of one or more prosthetic teeth, called pontics.
While occasionally made from gold or metal alloys, most patients choose porcelain or porcelain-fused-to-metal for their pontics, because the doctor can tint them to match their natural tooth color. The pontics have dental crowns attached on either side to hold them in place in the patient’s mouth.
The crowns, called abutments, attach to prepared natural teeth, called abutment teeth. Some patients choose to have the abutments attached to dental implants the doctor surgically implants in the jawbone. Whichever attachment the patient chooses, the crowns provide support for the pontics, allowing the patient to bite and chew like normal.
Placing a Traditional Dental Bridge
Placing a traditional dental bridge will typically require you to make two visits to our Boise dental office. Your first visit will start with a consultation with Dr. Jensen.
The doctor will review your dental history, then perform a comprehensive oral exam to ensure that no other dental work needs completing before placing your bridge. The doctor will perform any extractions necessary for the placement of the bridge, then prepare your abutment teeth by carefully removing a small portion of the enamel on their surface.
Once the doctor has prepared your teeth, he will take impressions of them that he will use to create a model of your mouth. He will use the model to design your bridge, then forward it to a reputable offsite, U.S.-based dental lab, where certified technicians will complete the fabrication of your bridge. The doctor will provide you with a temporary bridge to wear until we receive your permanent appliance from the lab.
When we receive your permanent bridge, generally about two weeks later, you will return to the office for your second appointment. Dr. Jensen will place the bridge in your mouth and check it for proper fit and occlusion, making any necessary adjustments.
When the doctor feels satisfied with the fit of your bridge, he will use a strong, but safe, dental cement to permanently bond it in place. You will leave our office with your smile, and confidence, restored. With proper care and regular six-month checkups, your dental bridge can last over ten years.
Implant-Supported Dental Bridges
Dental implants are tiny posts that resemble screws made of titanium that the doctor surgically places into your jawbone as replacements for the roots of missing teeth. The posts stimulate the bone in your jaw, retaining the nutrients essential to the bone’s health.
Because the implants are biocompatible, the bone actually grows into the pores and micro surfaces of the metal as it heals, in a process called osseointegration. While this fusion promotes bone growth in your jaw, it also helps the implants provide a secure anchor for your new dental bridge.
Before placing dental implants, Dr. Jensen will perform a comprehensive oral exam, focusing on your jawbone and gums. Ideal candidates will need good bone density to provide a solid foundation for the implants, and an adequate amount of healthy gum tissue to aid in the healing of the implant sites. Patients with low bone density in their jaw may need to undergo a bone graft surgery or a sinus lift before we can place implants.
When you arrive on the day of your surgery, our friendly staff will make sure you are comfortable and begin administering your chosen form of anesthesia. Dr. Jensen will then begin surgically placing the tiny titanium posts in your jaw. The number of implants placed will depend on the number of teeth needing replacement.
A dental bridge may require just one implant or several, depending on its size. When the doctor finishes placing your implants, he will provide you with a temporary bridge to wear while they heal. Healing typically requires three to six months, with the implants hidden under your gums while the bone fuses together with them.
During the healing phase, avoid hard foods like ice and candy and plan instead to eat soft foods, to make sure the implants stay securely in place.
While you heal, Dr. Jensen will use images taken of your mouth to create a model, which he will use to design your new dental bridge. He will send this model, along with his design, to a reputable U.S-based dental lab, where certified technicians will begin the fabrication of your new bridge.
When your implants have fully healed, you will return for your second surgery. Dr. Jensen will expose the implants from underneath your gums, and attach tiny connectors, called abutments, to the head of each one. He will place your new bridge on the implants, checking for proper fit and occlusion.
When the doctor finishes making any necessary adjustments, he will permanently bond the bridge to the implants, and you will be free to go and show the world your brand new smile.
The Benefits of Dental Bridges
Dental bridges provide several benefits to patients aside from keeping their remaining teeth from drifting. Restoring a patient’s smile to its original beauty will help him experience a boost in confidence and feel good about himself.
Placing a dental bridge prevents the patient’s cheeks from sinking and appearing hollow due to bone degradation in his jaw, and helps him retain the shape of his face. Dental bridges also help patients speak clearly, and they distribute bite force evenly, improving the patient’s chewing capability.
Call Us Today
To learn more about the benefits of dental bridges, and how they can help restore your smile, contact our Boise, ID dental office today and schedule a consultation with Dr. Jensen.