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Being weary of smiling is a disappointing feeling. You might find yourself thinking twice before smiling at a stranger, or unleashing a full-bellied laugh at a friend’s joke. A smile is an expression of joy and happiness, and everyone deserves to sport one ear-to-ear without feeling self-conscious.

women talking

There are many reasons why people feel scared to smile sometimes. Some people might have stained teeth, while others have crooked teeth; however, these issues have a seemingly easy fix. If your teeth aren’t white enough for you, you can pop in some Whitening strips for a pearly smile. If your teeth are crooked, braces or longer-term teeth straighteners might do the trick.

But what if you’re missing teeth?

Many people who are missing teeth in visible parts of the mouth feel like they have no solution. If they don’t want to be committed to implants, or don’t want to deal with dentures, someone with this issue might feel a little stuck.

Consider this solution: Dental Bridges.

What Are Dental Bridges?

Dental bridges are prosthetic teeth that act as a “bridge” in the empty space where you’re missing a tooth or multiple teeth. They anchor onto your existing teeth to give you a full smile.

The excellent part about bridges is that they appear completely seamless. At Mill Dam Dental, we take pride in matching tooth color and shape.

Bridges are crafted specifically to fit the look of your teeth. They won’t look out of place. They’re based off of molds of your existing teeth, so they’ll not only be symmetrical, but extremely convincing.

How Common Are Dental Bridges?

According to RealAge, “By age 44, about 69% of all adults are missing at least one tooth due to injury, decay, or gum disease. Many of these people have traditional dental bridges to replace their missing teeth.”

Missing one or multiple teeth is nothing to be ashamed of. No matter how you lost it, there are always options for it to be replaced and for you to have a normal smile again. There’s no shame in having to get dental bridges, especially since so many people have them.

Even if you’re much younger than 44, dental bridges are extremely common– more than you might think. You might even know someone who has dental bridges because of how often they are mistaken for normal teeth.

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What Are Some Common Concerns Surrounding Dental Bridges?

Since applying bridges requires a reshaping of the anchored teeth to hold the bridges, over time your teeth and gums might recede, or you might gain an infection of you’re not taking care of your mouth properly. This can cause pain and weakening of your teeth and gums, which might cause even more issues in the long run.

However, it’s all in how you maintain your bridges. If you’re taking good care of them by cleaning them and getting regular dental checkups, you’ll be able to avoid any of the above issues.

Dental bridges also require replacement every 10-15 years. If you plan for these replacements and stay in contact with your dentist, they you’ll be able to keep your teeth and gums healthy for a very long time.

As with any dental implant or cosmetic application, the risk is always there. But staying clean and seeing a professional on a regular basis will ensure that you don’t run into any unsavory dental issues in the future.

What Are the Common Types of Dental Bridges?

There are three main types of dental bridges that you can get, depending on your preferences and dental scenario.

  1. Traditional Bridges
    Traditional bridges are when two crowns are made to cover your two real teeth surrounding the gap in your mouth. Connecting the two crowns is a synthetic tooth made to fill the gap. The synthetic tooth is anchored by the crowns on either side of it.
  2. Cantilever Bridges
    This type of bridge is needed when there is only one tooth neighboring the area in need of the bridge. These ones aren’t extremely common in this day and age, as it’s not recommended to put a fake tooth in the very back of the mouth where the molars are. It can be more prone to infection, damage, or food and other things rotting around the synthetic tooth.
  3. Maryland Bonded Bridges

These types of bridges are assisted by metal or porcelain foundation or framework. This is usually the case when there are multiple teeth missing, creating a much larger gap. The two ends of each side are usually fused to the existing teeth on the outer edge of where the gap is.

How Long Does it Take To Get A Dental Bridge or Bridges?

Usually two visits will complete the process for installing dental bridges. Your dentist will begin by shaping down the anchor teeth, so he or she can create a crown that fits on top of it. The dentist will take a mold of the newly shaped anchor teeth, and send it to a dental lab. In between your first and second visit, a lab will create the crowns and the bridges.  

In your second visit, your dentist will install the crowns and bridges into your mouth. They’ll advise you on how to maintain your bridges and how often they need to be checked.

This is just a general description of a dental bridge installation; it’s not taking into account any extra steps that might be necessary to your unique situation. If you do have to have a more extensive procedure, your dentist should be upfront and leave no room for surprises.

Everyone’s situation is different when it comes to dental procedures. While your dentist is obligated to be upfront with you, you should also be upfront with him or her. If you have any type of pain or unusual experience before, during or after the procedure, be vocal about it.

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An Excellent Option

All in all, dental bridges are a great option if you’re dealing with severe tooth gaps. Your dentist will advise you with the best solution possible, and for some, dental bridges may be the best solution.