Fixed Bridges in Buffalo, NY
Todd Shatkin DDS is an experienced Buffalo dentist providing affordable fixed bridges to patients throughout Western New York for over 30 years. Contact Aesthetic Associates Centre today to arrange your free consultation and learn if a fixed bridges are right for you.
With age, injury, or dental care challenges, tooth loss can occur. Fixed bridges, as the name applies, creates a dental bridge between your natural teeth and helps you keep your natural face shape. If you have suffered from a tooth loss, your dentist may suggest a bridge to fill in the gap the missing tooth has created, helping you maintain your natural bite and keeping your other teeth where they should be. A fixed bridge is a common dental procedure performed in dental offices every day.
What are Fixed Bridges?
A traditional fixed bridge is used to replace a missing tooth when the natural teeth on both sides are strong enough to support the bridge. A bridge is a fake tooth, or pontic, that is attached and held in place by dental crowns placed on the surrounding teeth. These crowns, known as abutments, are cemented onto the healthy teeth. The pontic looks and acts like a natural tooth, returning your natural smile as well as helping to maintain your natural facial structure.
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Why Would You Need Fixed Bridges?
While a missing tooth may not bother you when it comes to your appearance (especially if it is in the back and not noticeable), a missing tooth can cause have long-term consequences. Your teeth maintain their natural position because of each other. When a tooth is lost and a space opens, teeth can shift. This can affect your bite as well as place added stress on other teeth, leading to possible pain and additional tooth loss.
When a tooth is missing, it can also contribute to shrinking jaw bones. This shrinkage can affect how the jaw supports your lips and cheeks, often leading to facial shape changes and an older appearance.
In addition to shifting and facial changes, missing teeth can contribute to chewing and eating problems, loss of confidence, missed job opportunities, depression, and more. A 2015 study by the American Dental Association showed a connection between lower self-esteem, lower quality of life, compromised mental health, and missed job opportunities because of poor dental health and missing teeth.
It showed that one in four adults avoid smiling because of dental issues while one in five experience anxiety because of poor dental health and missing teeth. Fixed bridges are one treatment option that can help restore your confidence and help create a healthy mouth.
What to Expect with a Fixed Bridge Procedure?
A fixed bridge procedure typically takes more than one dental visit. During the initial visit, the dentist must prepare the natural teeth on both sides of the missing tooth. Because the crowns will attach to these teeth, the dentist must remove some of the surface enamel.
Once this is done, a dental impression is made of the teeth and then sent to a laboratory where the bridge is made. A temporary bridge is put into place until the permanent bridge is complete.
At the second appointment, the dentist will fit and adjust the permanent bridge as necessary before cementing it onto the neighboring teeth. This is a permanent attachment and is not able to come out.
Cantilever Fixed Bridges
In cases where the missing tooth only has a supporting tooth on one side, a cantilever bridge can be an option. In this case, the bridge and pontic is attached to only one crown. The downside to this is that the bridge is not as stable as one held in place on both sides. However, this is often the option for a back molar that only has one neighboring tooth available.
A Fixed Implant Bridge
In cases where there are numerous missing teeth or the neighboring teeth are not stable to support a bridge, an implant-supported bridge is often used. In this case, an implant post is surgically inserted into the jaw bone to hold the pontic in place. This helps to stabilize the surrounding teeth as well.
Caring for Your Fixed Bridges
Caring for your fixed bridges is essentially the same as caring for your natural teeth. Regular brushing and flossing help to remove plaque and tartar buildup. Seeing your dentist regularly for checkups and professional cleanings help maintain good oral and bridge health and allows the dentist to notice any possible problems with your fixed bridges before they becomes a problem. Because your natural support teeth have crowns, avoid eating hard foods and candies that can damage the crowns.
If you are missing teeth and would like to restore your smile and keep your facial structure from changing, contact the Aesthetic Associates Centre today to arrange a free consultation with Dr. Todd Shatkin to go over your treatment plan options and find out if fixed bridges would work for you.
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