Did you know that oral disease affects nearly 3.5 billion people worldwide? Missing teeth can seriously affect your overall health by causing problems with speech and your ability to eat normally.
Many people who are missing their natural teeth look to dental bridges as a solution. Dental bridges can restore your confidence and bring back your smile. But how long do dental bridges last? What types of dental bridges are there?
Keep reading this guide to learn the answers to these questions. You’ll also find out everything you need to know about dental bridges and what the process involves.
What Is a Dental Bridge?
If you have teeth that are missing, you can fix these gaps in your smile by getting a dental bridge. Dental bridges consist of one or more artificial teeth. They’re held into place by your natural teeth, also referred to as abutment teeth, that surround your missing teeth.
In other words, dental bridges are made to “bridge the gap” that’s created when you’re missing teeth. Dental bridges are permanent fixtures and can’t be removed once in place.
Types of Dental Bridges
There are different types of dental bridges you can get. Your dentist will decide which type is best for your particular situation. These types include:
Traditional Dental Bridges
Traditional dental bridges are the most common type of dental bridges. They’re typically used when healthy teeth surround the missing tooth on both sides.
You’ll need to have dental crowns cemented onto the adjacent teeth to support the bridge. Traditional bridges are very strong and can even be used to replace molars. They’re usually made of ceramic or porcelain that’s fused to metal.
Cantilever Dental Bridges
Cantilever dental bridges are similar to traditional bridges, but they are only supported by one adjacent tooth instead of two. Your dentist will choose this type of bridge when you only have a tooth present only on one side of your missing tooth.
Like traditional bridges, you’ll have a crown placed on your adjacent tooth to support the bridge. Cantilever bridges can be made of porcelain, porcelain that’s fused to metal or zirconia. Many people choose zirconia or porcelain as they tend to look more natural.
Dental Implant Bridges
Unlike traditional dental bridges that use your natural teeth for support, dental implant bridges use tooth implants. Dental implants have titanium posts and act as artificial tooth roots. The bridge then fits onto the implants.
Dental implant bridges are ideal if you have several missing teeth. Since dental implant bridges are stronger than traditional bridges, you can replace as many as five teeth at once.
To get dental implant bridges, you’ll need to have enough bone to support the implants; otherwise, it may be necessary to have a dental bone graft surgery first to increase the amount of bone you have.
How Long Do Dental Bridges Last?
Dental bridges typically last up to 15 years with proper oral hygiene and regular trips to your dentist’s office for routine dental care.
Since cantilever dental bridges only have one tooth that supports them, you’ll need to make sure and keep your gums healthy for them to last.
Dental implant bridges are the most durable, as they are surgically implanted into your jawbone for support. While the actual denture might need replacing, the implants will typically last a lifetime.
Reasons for Getting a Dental Bridge
When you have missing teeth, it affects your confidence and your overall dental health in a number of ways. Getting a dental bridge can help to:
- Correct bite problems
- Correct problems with chewing your food
- Prevent your other teeth from shifting out of position
- Restore your smile and the shape of your face
- Improve your speech
Overview of Dental Bridge Procedures
The first step to getting traditional or cantilever bridges involves preparing the adjacent teeth for crowns.
Your dentist will first inject an anesthetic into your gums near where your bridge will be. Once the anesthetic is working, your dentist will shape your surrounding teeth by removing some of the enamel.
You’ll then have an impression made of your teeth, and your dentist will fit you with a temporary bridge while you wait for the permanent bridge.
Once the bridge is ready, your dentist will remove the temporary bridge and cement the permanent bridge into place. Your dentist also might use temporary cement for a few weeks to make sure the fit is comfortable before permanent placement.
Procedure for a Dental Implant Bridge
You’ll have the implant surgically placed into your jawbone where your teeth are missing. Your jawbone will eventually grow around the implant, securing it into place.
You’ll need a second procedure to place a permanent bridge over your implants once you’re healed. You may need to wear a temporary bridge first before the permanent bridge is placed.
Dental Bridge Recovery
You’ll need between 1 to 2 weeks to adjust to your new dental bridge. For the first few days, you may notice some soreness while biting down and changes in how your mouth feels. You might also experience some tooth sensitivity.
Some steps you can take to reduce symptoms include:
- Avoid hard or crunchy foods
- Use a toothpaste that reduces tooth sensitivity
- Eat soft foods to limit pain
- Avoid very hot or very cold foods
For dental implant bridges, you’ll experience mild pain and swelling for the first few days after surgery. The healing time varies depending on whether you need a bone graft. Typically, it takes up to six months to heal fully.
Talk to Your Dentist About Dental Bridges Today
Now that you have the answer to how long do dental bridges last, you know that dental bridges are an excellent long-term solution to replace your missing teeth.
If you’re looking for dental services, it’s time to turn to The Dental Team for your dental care needs. We offer a variety of services such as implants, root canals, dental bridges, and Invisalign.
Our professionals will help you to restore your smile and your dental health. We have locations in Mississauga, Brampton, Milton, and Vaughan. Make sure you contact us today to schedule an appointment!