Long Island Dental Bridge Placement
Dental bridges are fixed, multi-tooth restorations that replace missing teeth. They’re used in lieu of wearing a partial denture or having numerous dental implants placed.
Because bridges can be attached on top of either natural teeth or dental implants, having them placed is a unique process. A bridge looks like multiple dental crowns bonded side-by-side, but only the crowns on each end are functional; the ones between them are suspended over the open gap in the mouth “bridging” the space left by teeth that have fallen out or been removed.
Preparation of the Supports
Placing a dental bridge is similar to having a crown made. First, the supporting teeth must be prepped and shaped so that either end of the restoration can fit over the teeth that are to support it. For implant patients, the implant abutment is installed on top of the “root” portion of the implant. Abutments are what connect the fixed restoration to the implant itself, as most only come up to the level of the gums and do not extend up into the open mouth.
It doesn’t matter if your new dental bridge is being affixed on top of implants or natural teeth, either design will need to start with an impression. By taking a mold of your unique mouth, the dental lab is able to customize a permanent dental bridge that fits perfectly in line with your adjacent teeth and soft oral tissues. From the contour of your gumlines to the way your opposing teeth bite into your new bridge, the accuracy of the fit starts with a perfect impression.
A model is made from your impression, which is then sent to the lab where your bridge is hand made.
Fabricating a dental bridge can take about two weeks, due to the unique nature of the materials and the artistic design process necessary. In the meantime, you’ll need to have something to wear while you wait. Depending on the area of your mouth that’s being bridged (such as the front) you may need a temporary prosthesis for aesthetic purposes. Teeth further back in the mouth may not need anything at all.
Temporary bridges are usually made out of acrylic but aren’t durable enough to wear for long term purposes. They will, however, prevent you from having a visible open space while you’re waiting on your permanent bridge to be made.
Try-in of Your Permanent Bridge
About two weeks after your preparation appointment, our Long Island dentists will try your permanent bridge in. The temporary is removed (and any cement cleaned off) and the bridge is set in place to see how it fits in relationship to the other teeth. Unless there is a significant manufacturing concern or adjustment that’s needed, we then proceed to bond it permanently onto the teeth.
Cementing the Bridge in Place
Your permanent bridge requires a strong bond to keep it adhered to the supporting teeth or dental implants underneath. The type of cement or bonding agent that we use will depend on your situation. In most cases, a permanent dental cement is mixed and then placed into the openings of the bridge (on either end) and then the restoration is set directly onto your teeth. You’ll then bite onto a cotton roll or gauze to keep the bridge in place as the cement dries.
Because dental cement can take several hours to fully cure, you’ll need to avoid biting and chewing on the area for at least 24 hours. After everything is firmly set, you’ll be able to use your dental bridge the same as if you would your natural, healthy teeth.
Care and Maintenance
Although dental bridges are permanently bonded in place, they require special care to ensure that the bond holds securely, and that new decay doesn’t develop around the base. To do so, use a water flosser or floss threader to clean under the bridge and around supporting teeth/implants daily. When brushing, pay particular attention to the gumlines, sweeping away plaque biofilm that accumulates near the margins of the bridge where it meets your soft tissues.
Like crowns, dental bridges can last several years with the right care. The key is to protect the supporting teeth and implants underneath, as well as the integrity of the porcelain. Do not use your bridge to open packages or tear things, like you would a tool; treat it the same as if it were a natural part of your smile.
Does it Hurt to Have a Bridge Placed?
At Sachem Dental Group, we have over 35 years of experience when it comes to keeping our patients as comfortable as possible. As with any other type of restorative therapy, we’ll use resources like local anesthetic or sedation dentistry to alleviate anxiety or potential discomfort.
Comfort needs for placement of a bridge are usually dealt with differently, depending on whether it’s your first or second appointment in the process.
For the initial visit where the tooth is adjusted and enamel shaped down, the area will need to be completely numbed with local anesthetic. The temporary restoration over the tooth helps to minimize sensitivity after the numbing wears off and until the permanent bridge is placed.
At the second visit when the temporary is removed and the permanent bridge is bonded in place, anesthetic may not be necessary. Should your tooth feel hypersensitive once the temporary and cement are removed, we can numb the area to keep you comfortable. However, not everyone needs this. Our multi-specialty dentists in Suffolk County will pay particular attention to your individual concerns, so as to tailor the experience so that it meets your unique situation.
Multi-Specialty General Dentistry in Long Island
Suffolk County patients have trusted Sachem Dental Group with their restorative dental needs for more than three decades. If you need a new dental bridge placed or are considering options like dental implants, we invite you to call our Long Island dentists to request a consultation. New patients and their families are always welcome!