Dental Bridges in Melbourne, FL

Half of American adults ages 20-64 are considered partially edentulous, meaning they have lost at least one permanent tooth. This number is projected to increase over the next 15 years to more than 200 million individuals. If you are among the many Americans struggling with tooth loss, you’ve likely experienced difficulty eating, chewing, or speaking. You may even be reluctant to smile. The good news is there are many options for resolving tooth loss problems. Dental bridges, in particular, are a popular solution for replacing one or more missing teeth in a row.

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At Designing Smiles Dentistry, we recognize that gaps in your smile can profoundly impact your well-being. Led by Dr. Victor Apel, our team will design a personal treatment plan that addresses your tooth loss needs and considers your dental goals, preferences, and budget. Read on to learn more about the dental bridge options we offer.

Understanding Dental Bridges

A dental bridge is a row of artificial teeth that fills a gap in your smile left by one or more missing teeth. The bridge is supported by healthy natural teeth or dental implants neighboring the gap. Different types of bridges are used in specific situations, and they differ primarily in how the appliance attaches to the structures in your mouth.

Who Is a Good Candidate for Dental Bridges?

You may be eligible for a dental bridge if:

  • You are missing one tooth or multiple consecutive teeth in one area of your mouth.
  • You have good oral health. Issues like decay or gum disease must be addressed before we begin a restorative procedure.
  • You want a non-removable solution for replacing your missing teeth.

Why You Should Consider a Dental Bridge

Replacing missing teeth with dental bridges is an investment in your daily well-being and long-term health. As a reliable tooth replacement option, dental bridges can:

  • Prevent shifting teeth: When you lose even one tooth, the surrounding teeth begin to shift toward the gap. This movement changes your bite, weakening your chewing force. Misaligned teeth can make chewing food and cleaning your teeth difficult. A bridge halts shifting teeth, maintaining your bite force and allowing you to more easily clear away bacteria and debris that would otherwise lead to decay.
  • Improve chewing function: It can be challenging to eat nutritious meals when you are missing teeth. It’s not uncommon for individuals to change the foods they eat when they lose teeth, favoring foods that may be easier to chew but not as nutritious. Such altered eating habits can lead to health risks like obesity and diabetes. Obesity has even been shown to accelerate tooth loss. Dental bridges maintain your bite force, allowing you to eat a well-balanced diet.
  • Enhance speech: Speaking clearly requires your teeth, lips, tongue, and other oral structures to function correctly. As a result, tooth loss can lead to impaired speech, making communicating challenging and even embarrassing. By replacing missing teeth, dental bridges restore your ability to pronounce words properly.
  • Boost self-confidence: Gaps in your smile can make you hesitant to laugh, smile, or engage in social activities. Though the primary purpose of dental bridges is restorative, they also improve your smile’s appearance, providing a self-confidence boost.
  • Maintain oral and overall health: By restoring function to your teeth, dental bridges help to maintain your oral health. When healthy teeth shift toward a gap, they can loosen, leading to additional tooth loss. Bridges block shifting teeth and protect the gums from building up decay-causing bacteria. This helps prevent cavities and gum disease, which can lead to conditions like heart disease and stroke that impact your overall health.

Dental Bridges vs. Partial Dentures

 in Melbourne, FL Designing Smiles Dr. Victor Apel

If you are considering dental bridges, you’ve likely heard about partial dentures. Although both bridges and partial dentures replace missing teeth, they differ in important ways. Partial dentures can be used when missing teeth affect both sides of the arch, whereas bridges are used when one or more consecutive teeth are missing in one area.

Like traditional full dentures, partial dentures contain artificial teeth on a gum-colored acrylic base. Both full and partial dentures are removable and must be taken out for cleaning every day. Because of the materials they use and their frequent removal, partial dentures are fragile and can break easily.

On the other hand, bridges are fixed appliances, meaning they are bonded to your teeth with dental cement. They are also structured differently as they do not use a gum-colored base as a support mechanism. Patients typically find that dental bridges feel more natural in their mouth than retainer-like partial dentures.

If you want a durable and natural-looking solution, a fixed dental bridge may suit you best.

Types of Dental Bridges

With various options to suit diverse needs, dental bridges are an excellent solution for replacing missing teeth.

The type of dental bridge that is right for you will depend on certain factors, such as the location of the gap, the number of missing teeth, the condition of the teeth neighboring the gap, and your individual preferences.

Traditional and Cantilever Bridges

A traditional bridge is a row of teeth with an artificial tooth set between two dental crowns. The crowns fit over healthy teeth on both sides of the gap. While the traditional bridge is the most commonly used, it requires neighboring teeth that are strong enough to support the bridge.

If there is only one healthy tooth next to the gap, we can use a cantilever bridge. This looks similar to a traditional bridge but contains only one crown. As a result, a cantilever bridge puts more pressure on the single support tooth.

For both traditional and cantilever bridges, we need to remove some enamel from the support teeth so the crowns can adhere to them securely.

Maryland Bonded Bridge

A Maryland bonded bridge has a different structure that does not require enamel removal. Instead of attaching crowns to healthy teeth next to the gap, this bridge uses a discreet metal framework, making it ideal for replacing missing front teeth. Attached to the artificial tooth are metal wings that we bond to the back of the teeth adjacent to the gap. As a result of this attachment method, Maryland bonded bridges cannot withstand heavy chewing forces, so they are not suitable for replacing teeth like molars.

Mini Implant-Supported Bridge

 in Melbourne, FL Designing Smiles Dr. Victor Apel

A bridge supported by mini dental implants is the most stable and secure option. Mini implants are small prosthetic tooth roots made from durable titanium that we screw into your jawbone. One end of the implant sits above your gumline and connects to a dental appliance like an artificial crown, bridge, or denture. Because the dental implants absorb chewing forces, a mini implant bridge doesn’t put pressure on or damage healthy teeth.

Owing to the strength of the mini implants, an implant-supported bridge can even replace an entire arch of teeth. Mini implant stabilized dentures and Fix on Six® bridges are long-lasting and comfortable solutions to significant tooth loss.

The Dental Bridge Procedure

The procedure for a dental bridge typically requires two appointments, though the details vary depending on the type of bridge you need. For a traditional or cantilever bridge, Dr. Apel will prepare the support teeth during your initial visit. He will apply a local anesthetic before removing enamel from your support teeth. If you opt for a mini implant-supported bridge, no enamel removal is necessary. Instead, Dr. Apel will place the implants using a minimally invasive technique.

After, he’ll take impressions so that your bridge can be fabricated to your exact specifications. Your custom bridge is created in a dental lab, which usually takes two to three weeks. Dr. Apel will give you a temporary bridge as you wait. When your restoration is ready, you’ll return for your second appointment. At this time, Dr. Apel will remove the temporary bridge and bond your beautiful new bridge to the support teeth or implants.

Close the Gaps in Your Smile with Dental Bridges

By closing gaps in your teeth, dental bridges restore your smile and bite function while maintaining your oral health. They allow you to chew like you used to and smile proudly for years and years. With over 30 years of compassionate service, Dr. Apel and his team at Designing Smiles Dentistry are well-equipped to treat your tooth loss needs. From traditional bridges to Fix on Six implant bridges, Dr. Apel has the experience and skill to help you determine the dental bridge option that is right for you.

Choosing Designing Smiles Dentistry ensures you receive a high-quality, custom-fit bridge that suits your needs, preferences, and budget. Schedule a free consultation today to learn how we can close the gap in your smile.