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Dental bridges

Mind the gap! Or just get a bridge. A dental bridge is a way to fill in the gap left by one or more missing teeth.

Questions to ask your doctor: Should I get bridges or dental implants? How often will I need to visit the dentist after the procedure?

Pre-procedure prep for dental bridges: No special pre-procedure prep is needed.

On the day of treatment: You may wish to take a drugstore painkiller in advance of your visit.

What To Expect

Getting a dental bridge is a multi-step procedure. After the dentist has determined that a bridge is right for you, she will inject a local anesthetic. She will then take an impression of the gap in your mouth and the surrounding area using a putty material. The teeth surrounding the missing teeth need to be prepared to serve as anchor teeth. This will require that about one-and-a-half millimeters of the tooth be drilled down and reduced, depending on the material of choice used for the bridge.

Another impression is then taken of the newly-shaped teeth. This second impression will be used to create the bridge. Before you leave, your dentist will place a temporary bridge in your mouth. After the bridge is created, you will return to the dentist to have it cemented into place. Minor adjustments can be made as needed. Some bridges are only attached to one tooth.

Who should do it: Only licensed dentists can apply dental bridges.

Duration: Getting a bridge takes two to three visits, each lasting an hour or more. The length depends on the complexity of the bridge restoration.

How Painful Is It?

Putting in the bridges requires removal of enamel from the tooth or teeth that will anchor the bridge. In some cases, the pulp is exposed, requiring a root canal. Anchor teeth may experience increased sensitivity and will feel strained after the bridge is applied, much like the tension felt directly after the application of braces. But, like braces, the tension will dissipate after about 12 hours, once the bridge settles into place.

Options for anesthesia: A local anesthetic is used for the treatment of anchor teeth.

Find experts who offer dental bridges near you