Dental Bridges in Gulfport, MS
Missing teeth can significantly impact your appearance and confidence. You may be searching for an affordable tooth replacement and want to understand all of your options. Understanding your potential treatment will help you determine the most suitable solution.
A dental bridge may be the right solution if you need to replace one or more teeth. Dr. John Hopkins, DDS, from the Centre for Smile Design, has over 40 years of experience helping patients replace their missing teeth. You don’t have to let missing teeth affect your life when Dr. Hopkins can restore your smile with a dental bridge.
What Are Dental Bridges?
Dental bridges are a type of dental restoration used to replace one or more missing teeth. Each bridge has at least one artificial tooth made from a durable material to replace your missing natural tooth. This artificial tooth connects to a crown on each side that anchors the bridge onto your tooth.
The crown portion of the bridge covers a minimum of two teeth to provide enough support to hold the artificial tooth in place. If you do not have enough natural teeth, Dr. Hopkins may recommend placing dental implants to stabilize the bridge.
Why Would I Need a Dental Bridge?
Everyone needs teeth to speak and chew properly, and dental bridges can improve your ability to do both by replacing your missing teeth. But missing teeth can disrupt more than how you enjoy your food or talk to your friends.
The American Dental Association states that missing teeth cause numerous issues, such as:
- Sagging around your mouth, making you look older
- Shifting or tilting of remaining teeth
- Feeling less confident about your smile
Missing a single tooth can negatively impact how you feel about your smile and overall appearance.
Dental bridges can address your missing teeth and improve your smile in the following ways:
- Improving your ability to speak and chew
- Restoring your face’s natural shape
- Preventing the remaining teeth from drifting into the open space left by the missing tooth
- Relieving uneven stress from your bite
Dental bridges are custom-made to fit perfectly and create a beautiful smile.
The Restorative Process for Dental Bridges
Dental bridges typically take two appointments to complete. The abutment teeth (your natural teeth) are prepared at the first appointment through reshaping. A portion of the enamel must be removed to create room for the crown to sit on top of them. After the tooth is prepared, impressions are taken and turned into a model.
A dental lab uses the dental model to create the new restoration. Your next appointment will be approximately two weeks away since you have to wait for your bridge to be made. Dr. Hopkins will place a temporary crown to protect the area during this time.
On your second visit, the temporary bridge is removed, and the new restoration is fitted and adjusted to create a final perfect fit. Dental bridges get permanently cemented into your mouth to ensure they remain in place.
Mini Dental Implant Supported Dental Bridges
If your dental bridge needs additional support, Dr. Hopkins may recommend having mini dental implants placed. This treatment option is more invasive than a traditional dental bridge, but you often have more support for your new restoration.
The implant acts like your tooth root by stimulating bone growth and anchoring the bridge to prevent it from slipping around like a partial denture. Mini dental implants are smaller than conventional implants, making them less painful and requiring less healing time.
Most mini dental implants can be placed in a single visit. After a few months of healing, Dr. Hopkins will prepare your implants to receive the dental bridge. The final restoration will be cemented on top of the metal post, giving you a permanent addition to your smile.
Caring for Your Dental Bridge
After your bridge placement, you may experience minor discomfort in the area of your new tooth. These are typical side effects and will disappear after a few days. You can manage the pain using an over-the-counter pain reliever, like ibuprofen or acetaminophen.
Your bridge is permanently placed to restore function to your smile. However, you must do a few things to maintain a healthy dental bridge.
Brush and Floss Daily
It doesn’t take long for plaque to accumulate around your teeth and gums. Brushing twice daily and flossing once will help remove bacteria and maintain a healthy oral cavity.
Clean Under the Bridge
Although there is no tooth there, you must routinely clean underneath your bridge. After brushing and flossing, remove food particles and debris lingering in the space between your gums and bridge. You can use dental picks, floss threaders, or interproximal brushes.
Keep Routine Dental Appointments
Routine dental exams are crucial for every patient. However, having a dental bridge increases the importance of these appointments. Dr. Hopkins recommends visiting the Centre for Smile Design at least twice yearly for most patients. However, those with gum disease or significant decay may benefit from more frequent appointments.
Will It Be Challenging to Eat with a Dental Bridge?
Replacing your missing teeth will make completing routine daily activities, like eating, easier. It may take a few days to get used to your new restoration, especially if you’ve been missing those teeth for a while. Try eating soft foods or cutting food into smaller pieces until you’ve grown accustomed to eating with your dental bridge.
How Long Do Dental Bridges Last?
You can expect your dental bridge to last approximately 15 years or longer. However, this estimate is based on good oral hygiene and routine checkups.
Get a Dental Bridge to Reconnect Your Smile
Whether you’re interested in a traditional dental bridge or a mini implant-supported restoration, you can receive quality treatment from the Centre for Smile Design. Dr. Hopkins has vast experience and provides comprehensive care. You and your family can treat all your dental needs under one roof.
Contact the Centre for Smile Design today to schedule your appointment and learn more about your tooth replacement options.