Dental bridges in Austin, TX

Woman clutching her jaw in pain

What Is A Dental Bridge?

understanding the basics

A dental bridge is a replacement for missing teeth. The most common type of bridge is a “traditional” bridge. In this treatment, two healthy teeth next to your missing tooth are trimmed, and then a bridge is made that consists of two porcelain dental crowns with a false tooth in the middle.

This bridge is permanently attached to your trimmed teeth, and the false tooth between the crowns fills up the area where your missing tooth used to be. Dental bridges are a good choice for some people with missing teeth. They are cheaper than dental implants, but will not shift and do not have to be removed, unlike partial dentures. To find out if a bridge in Austin or River Place is right for you, contact Austin Dental Company today for a consultation with Dr. Bonner Morren.

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What Are My Options? 

types of bridges

There are three basic types of bridges. Traditional bridges, such as those we discussed in the introduction, are the most common. They use two crowns that attach to healthy teeth, suspending one or more teeth in the gap where you’ve lost a tooth.

However, cantilever bridges are also sometimes used in areas where you do not have two healthy teeth for a traditional bridge. In this type of bridge, only one crown is used to support the false tooth. These types of bridges tend to be less stable, since they are only supported by a single tooth.

Maryland or “bonded” bridges also are sometimes used for front teeth. These bridges do not require the trimming of any teeth. Instead, they consist of a false tooth with metal “wings” that stick out from the sides of the tooth. These “wings” are bonded to the backs of your teeth using dental composite, holding the false tooth in place.

The Dental Bridge Process

initial consultation

To begin the process, you will come into your Austin dentist for a consultation with Dr. Bonner Morren. He will discuss your options for restorative dentistry with you, and help you decide if a bridge is the right choice.

Tooth trimming and fitting

If you are approved for a bridge, you’ll come back for a follow-up. At this appointment, Dr. Morren will trim your teeth, then take molds of your bite and your teeth. These will be sent to a lab where your bridge will be made.

temporaries and building your bridge

You will have a set of temporary crowns attached to your teeth before you go home. These will protect your teeth while your bridge is made. It usually takes about 2-3 weeks for your bridge to be built and sent back to your dentist in Austin, TX.

Final bridge placement

Once your bridge arrives at our office, you will come back to our office one last time. Dr. Morren will double-check the bridge to make sure it fits properly. Then, he will attach it permanently with dental adhesive, completing the procedure.

Keep Your Smile Healthy

caring for your dental bridge

For the most part, you can treat your bridge just like a natural tooth. Brush twice a day with fluoride, and see Dr. Bonner Morren for a consultation every six months. 

However, you will need to make some changes when flossing. You can floss your teeth normally, but you will need to floss underneath your dental bridge to ensure you clean it properly. This may take a bit of practice, and you may want to use floss tape, a flat type of dental floss that’s more effective for cleaning under dental bridges.

In addition to this, Dr. Morren may also recommend that you purchase an “interdental brush.” These are very thin toothbrushes that can easily clean in tight spaces, such as the gap between your bridge and your gums.

Woman clutching her jaw in pain

How Long Does It Take to Get Used to the Bridge?

It is completely normal for there to be an adjustment period after having a dental bridge placed because it takes some time to fully settle. Immediately after receiving a dental bridge, you may notice tooth sensitivity and swelling from the enameloplasty that is performed on the abutment teeth to prepare them for crowns. 

To help reduce swelling, you can apply a cold pack to the area, rinse your mouth with a saltwater solution, and use anti-inflammatory pain medication. If your teeth are very sensitive, we recommend avoiding hot and cold foods until it dissipates. 

You can brush your teeth with toothpaste for sensitive teeth or use a desensitizing gel. Your bite may also feel different. It shouldn’t take more than 2 weeks to adjust to your new dental bridge. Any discomfort should subside pretty quickly and improve each day. 

If you are still experiencing problems after this point, you should contact us right away because you could have an ill-fitting bridge that needs adjusting. Contact us at Austin Dental Company to schedule a consultation with Dr. Bonner Morren.

How Long Will the Bridge Last?

The lifespan of a dental bridge on average is about 5 to 7 years but it varies based on many different factors, such as:

  • The number of teeth being replaced
  • The type of bridge
  • Materials
  • Location
  • Underlying tooth health
  • Lifestyle
  • Oral hygiene

If you are placing a bridge in the front of the mouth, these teeth don’t undergo as much force compared to the rear teeth because they aren’t used for chewing. This can result in less wear and tear and a prolonged lifespan as opposed to placing it in the rear teeth. 

When bridges are placed in the back of the mouth, you may need more durable materials. We recommend more sturdy materials such as metals or zirconia in the rear teeth, while porcelain or ceramic materials may be more suitable for the front teeth.

If you have an implant-supported bridge, the actual implants will last for 25 years to life, but the bridge will need to be replaced every few years. With proper care, a bridge can last for up to 10 years.

a white smile
Woman clutching her jaw in pain

What Should I Avoid With a Dental Bridge?

You should avoid grinding your teeth, chewing hard and sticky foods, using your teeth as tools, and coming into contact with stains. You should avoid all tobacco products and limit your exposure to staining foods and drinks to avoid discoloration.

If you grind your teeth at night, you should wear a mouthguard to prevent damage to your bridge. Foods to avoid with a bridge include gum, caramel, candy nuts, seeds, and tough meats. You should practice good oral hygiene and attend regular dental cleanings

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