Dental Bridges & Partial Dentures in Wauwatosa

What is a Dental Bridge?

Not only do missing teeth make it more difficult to chew, it puts more stress on all of your other teeth and causes them to break down faster. With teeth missing, you also have less support for your bone, muscles, and cheeks which can lead to a loss of their normal shape. Luckily there are options. A bridge, sometimes called a “fixed partial denture,” is a great way to replace a missing tooth. As the name implies, it bridges the gap by suspending a replacement tooth in the missing space using the teeth next to it as anchors. The health of a bridge relies on the health of the anchor teeth so it is very important to thoroughly brush and floss these teeth. If there aren’t teeth adjacent to the space to anchor to, dental implants can act as anchors for the bridge. This type of restoration is permanently fixed to the anchor teeth or implants and can only be removed by your dentist.

What is a Partial Denture?

Sometimes when you have multiple missing teeth in various areas of your mouth, a partial denture is the most effective option to replace those teeth. A partial has a metal or flexible acrylic framework that holds replacement teeth and suspends them in the missing areas to greatly improve chewing ability and esthetics. Partials need to be taken out daily to be cleaned at home to ensure your mouth stays healthy. Implants can also be used to help ensure that your partial denture only comes out when you want it to. If you’re having issues with this, let Dr. McCue know.

What is the Dental Bridge Placement Process?

There are four different types of dental bridges depending on how many missing teeth you have and how many abutment teeth you have next to the space. First, you will need to be approved for a dental bridge during a consultation that rules out the presence of oral health problems. 

You will also need strong and healthy abutment teeth that can serve as support for the bridge. If these teeth are not strong or healthy enough, dental implants can be used. At your next appointment, we will prepare your abutment teeth for the bridge by filing down a small amount of enamel for crowns to be placed snugly on top. 

You will be given local anesthesia so this is painless. In cases where multiple teeth are missing or the abutment teeth are not strong enough, a dental implant or multiple implants can be placed to serve as the anchor for the bridge.

Impressions are then taken of the teeth and sent to a dental lab that will construct your bridge to match your teeth in color, size, and shape. While you wait for your bridge, you may be given a temporary bridge to wear. 

When the bridge is ready, you will return to the office to have the temporary bridge removed and the permanent bridge cemented into place. Some additional follow-up appointments may be necessary to ensure no adjustments need to be made.

How Long Do Dental Bridges Last?

Dental bridges can last between 5-15 years. Why is there such a big gap in the predicted lifespan of your dental bridge? Well, because many factors impact the longevity of your bridge, including diet, lifestyle, oral hygiene, and wear and tear. 

Most dental bridges will last for over 10 years if the patient takes good care of their smile and attends regular dental appointments. To get the most out of your bridge, you should brush your teeth twice a day with fluoride toothpaste and floss once a day. 

It’s important to keep your bridge and the covered teeth free from tooth decay and gum disease. For this reason, using an interdental brush, floss threader, or water flosser can help clean your dental bridge more thoroughly.

To avoid causing damage to your bridge, don’t chew on hard or sticky foods, limit your consumption of staining foods and drinks, and wear a nightguard if you grind your teeth when you sleep. Also be sure to visit the dentist every 6 months for regular cleanings and checkups.

Am I a Candidate for Dental Bridges?

A good candidate for a dental bridge is someone who is in good oral health with no signs of tooth decay or gum disease. Bridges should only be used to replace 1-3 consecutive missing teeth. A patient who is missing more than 3 teeth or who has missing teeth on different areas of the mouth may be a better candidate for partial dentures.

Healthy and strong abutment teeth are also necessary because these teeth are what supports and holds the bridge in place. Healthy and adequate jaw bone density is also crucial because inadequate bone density or structure can cause the bridge to become loose in the long term. 

A loose bridge is more susceptible to trapping food particles and bacteria. The best way to determine if you’re a good candidate for a dental bridge is to come in for a consultation with Dr. Shaun McCue. Contact us at McCue Dental Health to schedule an appointment today.

How Do I Care for My Partial Dentures?

To care for your partial dentures, you’ll need to regularly clean them as well as your teeth and store your dentures properly. When taking your dentures out to clean them, place something such as a towel underneath you in case you drop them.

There are denture brushes specifically made for cleaning dentures but you can also use a soft-bristle toothbrush. Always rinse out your dentures when taking them out and then gently brush them with a non-abrasive toothpaste or denture cleaner and before giving them one final rinse. 

If you have just eaten, you should clean your teeth before placing the dentures back into your mouth. It is also recommended that you soak your dentures in a denture cleaning solution overnight to keep them clean and moist.

Be careful not to damage your dentures by chewing on hard or sticky foods or grinding your teeth. A mouthguard should be worn if you suffer from bruxism. Store your dentures properly so you don’t lose or damage them. 

 

Attend regular dental appointments for cleanings and checkups. Dr. McCue can examine your dentures to ensure they’re in good shape and haven’t become loose or need to be replaced.

 

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