If you are missing one or more teeth, a dental bridge can restore your smile, increase your self-confidence, and protect your oral health. These restorations are made to look like your natural teeth. They rest inside the gap in your smile, held in place by crowns on the adjacent teeth. If you are getting ready to visit our Knoxville practice to receive a dental bridge, you may be wondering about proper aftercare. Fortunately, these restorations are very easy to maintain, and they typically require little more than routine dental hygiene. Call Dr. Thomas G. Zarger today to learn more about dental bridges and the best way to protect your newly restored smile.
What Is a Dental Bridge?
A dental bridge literally “bridges the gap” in your smile left by missing teeth. After determining that a bridge is the optimal restorative treatment for you, Dr. Zarger will carefully reshape the teeth on either side of this gap. By removing part of the dental structure, he will create a strong base for the crowns, which will hold up the entire bridge. When this step is complete, he will take impressions of your teeth and send them to a dental lab. While you are waiting for the technicians to create your restoration, he will place a temporary bridge, which will allow you to eat and speak more comfortably. When the bridge is finished, Dr. Zarger will make any minor adjustments that may be needed before attaching the restoration with durable dental resin.
Caring for Your Temporary Bridge
It is important to wear your temporary restoration at all times. If you remove it for extended periods, your teeth may start to drift out of position, and your permanent bridge may not fit properly. Additionally, the temporary restoration helps protect your teeth against sensitivity, which often occurs after your dentist removes enamel and reshapes your tooth. Before you receive the permanent restoration, however, you may still experience some discomfort, especially when your teeth are exposed to very hot or cold foods. This discomfort should subside within a few days. In the meantime, you should use caution when eating or drinking and take over-the-counter medication to reduce your sensitivity.
Note that temporary bridges can be somewhat fragile. Avoid very hard or sticky foods until you receive your permanent restorations. If your temporary bridge pops off, you should come to the office to have it replaced.
Caring for Your Permanent Dental Bridge
Once you receive your final bridge, you will simply need to maintain good oral hygiene. Although the bridge itself will not become decayed, the teeth that support your restoration are still subject to cavities. Of course, your gum tissue and the remainder of your teeth require good home care, as well.
Additionally, although dental bridges are very durable, they are not as strong as your natural teeth. Although you should be able to eat and drink normally, you should not put excess pressure on your teeth. Never use your mouth to open packages, bite off tags, pop open soda cans, or perform similar activities. To protect your restoration (and your natural teeth), you should also avoid biting your nails, gnawing pencils, and chewing ice. Finally, if you struggle with chronic tooth grinding, a condition known as bruxism, you should ask Dr. Zarger about the most effective treatment for this condition. Not only will this protect your bridge; it could also enhance your overall oral health.
Whether you already have a dental bridge or you are getting ready to receive your new restoration, call our office today to learn about the best way to care for your new teeth.