If you are missing teeth, dental bridges can be one great option to protect your existing teeth, restore your smile and maintain the natural shape of your face and a comfortable bite. Dr. John Paul Gallardo, DDS, PA of Miami, FL, is a specialized periodontist with almost three decades of experience in placing beautiful, natural dental bridges for his patients. Dental bridges offer a long-lasting, beautiful solution that can help men and women across South Florida protect their oral health and take pride in their smiles.
- What are Dental Bridges?
- Why Choose Dental Bridges?
- Materials Used in Dental Bridges
- Types of Dental Bridges
- Reasons to Get a Dental Bridge
- Benefits and Advantages of Dental Bridges
- What To Expect From The Procedure
- Potential Risks of Dental Bridges
- Why Choose Dr. Gallardo?
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Schedule your Dental Bridge Appointment in Miami Today
What are Dental Bridges?
Dental bridges are created to bridge the gap left by one or more missing teeth. The bridge is constructed of multiple dental crowns, which cover the adjacent teeth to the gap, often referred to as abutment teeth. Between these crowns, there are several replacement teeth in between.
Dr. Gallardo offers a range of different materials that can be crafted to more closely resemble your natural teeth, including alloys, porcelain, gold or combined materials. Porcelain bridges are designed to give the appearance of natural teeth and should also be handled with the same type of care and oral hygiene you provide to your other teeth. Natural teeth or dental implants can be used to support a bridge. When in place, dental bridges are a tooth replacement option that bridges the gap where missing teeth once were, leaving a natural appearance and a beautiful smile.
Why Choose Dental Bridges?
As a periodontics specialist, Dr. Gallardo can advise you about the best options for tooth replacement for your unique situation. There are several reasons why people may lose teeth, including trauma, advanced gum disease or extensive tooth decay. Dental bridges can also replace very misshapen or discolored teeth. In some cases, you may be driven to replace the missing teeth right away, as they are visible. Even missing teeth in the rear of the mouth can pose a problem, however. The gaps left behind can cause the remaining teeth to shift and move over time, which can lead to oral health challenges as well as greater difficulty chewing food or speaking.
Over time, missing teeth can alter your bite or the shape of your face. Dental bridges can protect against these changes as well as boosting your self-confidence in your smile and appearance, especially when eating and talking in a crowd. Of course, there are other replacement options, such as dental implants, that may also prove a good fit. Dr. Gallardo’s South Florida patients enjoy a range of choices for a natural appearance and effective results.
Materials Used in Dental Bridges
As its name suggests, a dental bridge bridges the gap when at least one tooth is missing. Each side of the bridge attaches to a natural tooth or implant in the mouth, and fake teeth, known as pontics, fill in the space between. Typically, dental bridges are used when one or more teeth are missing.
A dental bridge can be made from a variety of materials, which differ in terms of appearance and cost. Metal alloys are often the least expensive, but they look like metal. Gold bridges are pricier and are gold in color, so they don’t exactly give you a natural look. Porcelain bridges tend to be pricier than metal, but have the benefit of looking like actual, natural teeth. They can be a bit more fragile than metal or gold and are prone to chipping. If you have a porcelain bridge, you’d want to treat it with the same care you treat your natural teeth.
Types of Dental Bridges
Dental bridges are divided into different types, based on how they are attached to the teeth in the mouth. In the case of a traditional bridge, the pontic is attached to a crown or a dental implant on either side. When you go in for your initial appointment, the dentist will reshape teeth in your mouth so that a crown can fit over them or install the implant. He’ll take an impression and use that to create the crowns and pontic for the actual bridge. While you wait for your dental bridge, you’ll be given a temporary replacement to wear.
Another type of dental bridge is the Maryland bonded bridge. Instead of capping the neighboring teeth with a crown or replacing them with an implant, the dentist bonds the bridge to the existing teeth. The least common type of dental bridge is a cantilever bridge, which is attached to a tooth on only one side. A cantilever bridge is rarely used, as it can put a lot of pressure on the remaining teeth, causing damage.
Reasons to Get a Dental Bridge
Why would you get a dental bridge? Although tooth loss is considerably less common these days than it was decades ago, people do occasionally have problems with their teeth that require removal. For example, if you had an advanced form of gum disease, one or more of your teeth might be damaged enough that removing them is the best option. You might have lost a tooth due to an accident or extreme tooth decay. In some cases, people consider dental bridges to replace teeth that are very discolored or misshapen.
Why not just leave the area around the missing tooth alone? For a number of reasons. When a tooth is gone, the remaining teeth have space to move and shift. If the remaining teeth move out of position, it can be difficult for you to speak or chew your food.
Replacing any missing teeth also allows you to maintain the shape of your face. When there are spaces where teeth should be, the shape of the face changes.
Finally, replacing your missing teeth with a dental bridge or dental implant can make you feel more confident about your smile. You’ll once again have teeth in the area, and will want to show them off.
Benefits and Advantages of Dental Bridges
There are several benefits to dental bridges. First, they perform their obvious role in bridging the gap and replacing missing teeth, improving both the aesthetics and the functionality of your bite. You can eat, speak and sing normally with your bridge in place without the interference or discomfort caused by missing teeth.
Your dental bridge can be closely matched to the color of the adjacent teeth, leading to a natural appearance that can boost your self-confidence in both person and photos.
Beyond the aesthetic benefits, dental bridges can improve your long-term oral health. Placing a bridge can prevent your teeth from moving around and further encourage decay. It can also help to prevent your jawbone from eroding due to the missing teeth. Dr. Gallardo will customize your dental bridge so that it is precisely fitted in your mouth, and most patients in South Florida quickly and comfortably adjust to its placement. Unlike a denture, you do not need to remove the bridge and can provide proper oral hygiene by brushing regularly.
In short, dental bridges can:
- Restore the look and functionality of your smile
- Protect your comfort and ability to speak, chew and sing
- Prevent changes to your face shape and bite from missing teeth
- Protect against further damage to your jawbone
- Keep your remaining teeth in position
- Provide a comfortable, natural-looking tooth replacement option
What To Expect From The Procedure
There are several different types of dental bridges, and the procedure to place each varies slightly. As a periodontal specialist, Dr. Gallardo will recommend the best option to restore your teeth for exceptional results. When you schedule a consultation, Dr. Gallardo will review your options and provide examples of how a dental bridge might work for you.
With a traditional dental bridge, replacement teeth are attached to a dental crown on either side. The crown is fitted over the teeth adjacent to the gap, and Dr. Gallardo will reshape those teeth to allow them to accept the crown. In other cases, Dr. Gallardo may place dental implants to support the bridge. Your dental bridge will be specially crafted to fit your mouth using an impression taken from your teeth and gums. While your permanent bridge is being created, you will receive a temporary bridge to fill in the gap. When the new, permanent bridge is placed, Dr. Gallardo will adjust the replacement to ensure a proper, precise fit. In some cases, temporary cement may be used initially to make certain that the placement is correct before it is permanently installed.
You can begin to use your dental bridge right away, and the recovery period should be very short. As you adjust to eating with your new dental bridge, you may want to take small bites and prefer soft foods. Over time, however, you should be able to eat normally and more easily than you did with missing teeth.
Potential Risks of Dental Bridges
There are some potential risks associated with a dental bridge. Typically, the bridge is supported by healthy adjacent teeth on either side of the gap that holds the bridge in place. These teeth need to be reshaped to receive the crowns that keep the bridge in place, which can damage and undermine the teeth. You may need to be careful to brush your teeth effectively because plaque and bacteria could collect in the area between the bridge and crowns.
This is a particular concern if those teeth are not sufficiently strong to hold the bridge in place. In this case, they may collapse and require dental implants for a complete replacement. Dr. Gallardo will thoroughly examine your teeth and the structure of your mouth to determine the best dental bridge structure that protects your smile and improves your oral health.
Why Choose Dr. Gallardo?
Dr. Gallardo has over 25 years in practice offering general dentistry and specialized periodontics to his patients in Miami FL and throughout South Florida. He works closely with his patients to find the right solutions for beautiful, effective outcomes and strong, natural smiles.
Dr. Gallardo earned his Doctor of Dental Surgery at New York University College of Dentistry before completing a prestigious residency at the V.A. Medical Center, where he was named Outstanding Resident of the Year. He is committed to the most advanced techniques in periodontics and earned a Certificate of Advanced Graduate Study at Boston University.
Frequently Asked Questions
If you are missing between one and three teeth in a row, you may be a good candidate for a dental bridge in Miami FL. In general, you should have relatively good oral health, and you should be free of gum disease when the bridge is installed for the best results. Dr. Gallardo can provide specialized advice and treatment for your periodontal concerns before moving forward with a bridge to ensure an excellent result.
The teeth that will support the bridge on either side should also be sufficiently strong to maintain the bridge over time. If you opt for a conventional dental bridge, your natural teeth on either side would be altered to receive crowns that would support the bridge. In some cases, your bridge may be supported by dental implants; here, your jawbone should have sufficient density and strength to receive the implants. Bone graft procedures may also be possible to prepare your jawbone for implants.
Dr. Gallardo and his staff members will provide you with detailed information about how to care for your bridge. In most cases, you should brush and floss your bridge as you would a natural tooth, taking care to protect the teeth on either side as well as your bridge. Maintaining healthy oral hygiene is a great way to keep your bridge in place and prevent further tooth decay.
If cared for, you can expect a dental bridge to last from five to 15 years or even longer. In most cases, you can expect over 10 years of use when you maintain good oral care and visit the dentist regularly for routine checkups.
Schedule your Dental Bridge Appointment in Miami Today
When you turn to Dr. Gallardo for your dental bridge, you are choosing a skilled and specialized dentist with exceptional experience. Get started today on the journey to restore your smile. Call our Miami FL office at 3045-447-1447 or use our online form to schedule a consultation today.