Born Without a Tooth? Lost One Along the Way?

Sometimes in life, the tooth fairy leaves us with the short end of the stick. If you’re missing a tooth due to trauma, or decay, medication or hypodontia (meaning, one or two of your permanent teeth never arrived), then you’ll know exactly what we mean. And, while the imaginary tooth fairy might have left you hanging without a replacement tooth, your real life dentist can help provide an affordable and cosmetically appropriate solution in the form of a dental bridge. Usually I prefer implants, but not in every situation.

Why You Might Need a Bridge

With 69% of adults experiencing the loss of a tooth between the ages of 35-44, if you’re in the missing tooth camp, you’re certainly not alone. Watch this film explaining dental-bridge-vs-implant. A “bridge,” then, is a form of dental prosthetic that allows for the placement of an artificial tooth in an area where a healthy tooth used to exist.

When an entire tooth is lost, a bridge acts as a unifying device that supports the artificial tooth. It eliminates the gap between adjacent teeth. To accomplish this, the artificial tooth (known as a pontic), needs to be joined to these adjacent teeth in order to stay in place.

A dental implant is an option over a bridge when there is enough bone present. However there are situations where there is not enough bone or to add bone would not be ideal and dental implant success would be unpredictable.

How Do They Work?

This can be done by using a crown as a connecting anchor for the artificial tooth, or a type of tooth colored filling known as an “inlay” or “onlay,” can be used in the same fashion. An onlay is used when support is needed along a “cusp” (the raised points on the biting surface), and an inlay is used when support is required between these cusps. To visualize how this type of filling functions, it might help to think of them as the raised pins on upside-down version of a Lego® block. Essentially, like a Lego block, they help to keep the bridge secure once cemented to your healthy teeth.

We have the CEREC technology for in-office bridges to be made same day. With the CEREC scanning and milling machines, we can create CEREC_MCXLbeautiful and custom fitting bridges and crowns while you wait in the office.

How Are They Installed?

To prepare for a two-surface bridge onlay, a dentist will first remove the portion of your healthy tooth that will act as the anchor (or, abutment). Then, depending on the process used by your dentist, either a physical impression of the tooth will be made, or 3D imaging  with CEREC will be used to render a digital impression. Next, your dentist will likely fit you with a temporary bridge until your custom bridge has been completed.

In total, you should expect to visit your dentist once to sort out all of the diagnostics and abutment tooth preparation, and then again to sort out all of the customization details. Once your custom bridge has returned from the lab, it would be laid into the excavated areas of your abutment teeth, and then either bonded or cemented into place.

How To Take Care of Them?

We always recommend a Waterpik water flosser and electric toothbrush such as the Sonicare for caring for bridges, implants, veneers and other more waterpik

precision and custom dental work. These dental cleaning tools get a clean that is much more thorough. People are always amazed at the amount of “yuck and food” that comes out even after flossing and brushing when using the Waterpik.

And, that’s it! With the kind of care you already provide to your other teeth, your bridge should last anywhere from 10-15 years. So, if you’re concerned about what you look like without a tooth, or several teeth, check with your dentist or hygienist. A bridge may be a great option for you.





Family dental care and cosmetic dentistry and dental implants.

Blue Apple Dental Group
6230 State Farm Drive, Rohnert Park, CA 94928
(707) 795-4523