Austin’s Choice for Cosmetic Tooth Replacement
What is a Dental Bridge?
A dental bridge refers to a traditional dental prosthetic that replaces one missing tooth or even two missing teeth in a row. Dental bridges work just like their name implies. Your Austin dentist places crowns on the two teeth neighboring the gap and these crowns support another artificial tooth between them. Dental bridges offer a permanent and highly realistic looking solution when you have lost a tooth.
Can a Dental Bridge Improve My Oral Health?
The most common causes of tooth loss include advanced gum disease, tooth decay, and severe trauma. No matter the cause, you should have that missing tooth replaced as soon as possible. A gap in the dental arch causes the remaining teeth to drift out of alignment, leading to:
- Malocclusion, or a “bad bite.”
- Worn down enamel.
- Damaged inner cheek and tongue from the constant friction of misaligned teeth rubbing or chewing on the soft tissues.
- An increased risk of tooth decay and gum disease.
- Issues associated with TMJ dysfunction such as chronic headaches, jaw pain, and problems biting, chewing, and opening your mouth properly.
Constructed of beautiful, translucent dental porcelain, a dental bridge not only helps maintain your mouth’s healthy balance by preserving proper alignment. It also dramatically improves the appearance of your smile.
How Does a Dental Bridge Improve the Appearance of My Smile?
Let’s face facts: a missing tooth simply doesn’t look good. No matter whether you lost that tooth to advanced decay, periodontal disease, or during a particularly rough game of flag football, your smile does not look complete with a hole in it. Gaps in your smile can make you look older and in poor health. Furthermore, even though it may not be particularly fair, many potential employers, friends, and romantic interests make assumptions about you based on the appearance of your smile. A missing tooth might give the impression that you do not care very much about your appearance or health. Replacing that missing tooth with a highly realistic dental bridge not only makes you look younger and healthier. An attractive, brilliant smile gives the impression that you are truly invested in your health and your appearance.
How Does My Austin Dentist Place a Bridge?
Placing a dental bridge generally requires two visits to your Austin General dentist. At your first visit you can expect:
- Dr. Ragsdale will prepare the teeth that neighbor the gap by gently removing a small amount of enamel to ensure your crown fits perfectly.
- She will take accurate impressions of the prepared teeth, the gum area where the pontic crown will rest, and the surrounding oral structure. These impressions will serve as the model for our skilled lab technicians to create your custom-fitted bridge.
- Finally, Dr. Ragsdale will fit you with a temporary bridge to protect your teeth until she can place your permanent.
At the second visit:
- Dr. Ragsdale will remove your temporary bridge.
- To ensure your permanent bridge fits well, Dr. Ragsdale may have you wear it for a few weeks and then return to the office for adjustments. We are dedicated to providing you with only the very highest quality dental restorations to help return your mouth to optimal health, function, and appearance.
How Should I Care for My Dental Bridge?
If you already practice consistent and thorough oral hygiene, continue to do so with your dental bridge. If your at-home dental care leaves something to be desired, now is the time to step up your game so you can ensure the longevity of your new bridge. Quality oral care for bridge wearers should include three basic steps:
- Brush your teeth for two minutes, two times per day. Make sure you use a soft-bristled brush to minimize gum. You may want to consider switching to non-abrasive toothpaste to help the porcelain crowns of your bridge stay beautiful.
- Floss once per day, preferably at bedtime. If you don’t feel confident about flossing your teeth, we will be happy to demonstrate proper technique.
- Visit your Austin family dentist for regular checkups and cleanings. Only a professional cleaning can remove all the plaque and tartar that builds up in the hard to reach places in your mouth. Furthermore, your dentist can identify any potential problems with your bridge and offer conservative solutions for early treatment.
With proper care, your dental bridge could last well over ten years.
Can My Austin Dentist Offer Any Bridge Alternatives?
While dental bridges offer patients a proven way to replace missing teeth, they do have a couple of drawbacks. First, bridges rest above the gums and do not replace any of the structure within the jaw. Over time, the underlying bone tissue will deteriorate and could affect the appearance of your lips and cheeks. Second, some patients experience an increased risk of tooth decay in the prepared teeth to which the bridge has been secured. Not every patient has to deal with these issues, but some choose to avoid them entirely by opting for dental implant placement. Dental implants are a restorative option that replaces both the root and crown portions of a missing tooth. Because dental implants become an integrated part of the jawbone, bone tissue deterioration does not occur. Dental implants also do not require removal of enamel on neighboring teeth. Talk to Dr. Ragsdale about your options to see whether a bridge or a dental implant will work best for you.
Interested in Replacing a Missing Tooth in Austin?
Your Austin family dentist, Dr. Helen Ragsdale, can help enhance the appearance, function and health of your mouth by replacing a missing tooth with a natural looking dental bridge. Call our Austin dentist office at (512) 346-4690 to schedule an appointment. Austin Laser Dentistry proudly serves patients from Austin, Round Rock, and all surrounding communities.