Losing a tooth can be a traumatic experience for patients. Whether the tooth was lost to injury or decay, the resulting gap can make patients feel self-conscious about their appearance and cause difficulty eating. Further, a missing tooth can cause additional oral health problems, such as jawbone degeneration, shifting of the remaining teeth, and bite misalignment. That is why it is so important for patients to seek immediate treatment if they have lost a tooth or several teeth. For certain patients, dental bridges are an appropriate solution. Dental bridges close the gap caused by consecutive missing teeth by filling it in with two or more prosthetic teeth. Dental bridges can be anchored by dental implants, which are placed in the jawbone to replace the tooth’s roots; or with dental crowns, which are placed over the two teeth that are adjacent to the gap. Orland Park dentist Kenneth W. Coffey, DDS, offers dental bridges treatment to patients who are missing some of their teeth.
Dental Bridges Anchored by Dental Crowns
If cost is a concern, then dental bridges that are anchored by dental crowns may be the best option. Dental insurance typically covers the cost of the dental bridges and crowns when they are used to restore a patient’s smile.
In this approach, Dr. Coffey will remove any signs of decay or infection, if they are present. Then, he will prepare the teeth on either side of the gap. This involves the removal of some healthy tooth structure so a sturdy dental crown can be placed over the tooth. Next, Dr. Coffey will take impressions of the gap and the teeth to be crowned. Finally, he will place temporary crowns and a bridge to protect the teeth and fill in the gap during the next few days while the crowns and bridge are fabricated at an offsite dental lab.
The patient will return to Dr. Coffey’s practice to have the crowns and bridge placed. The bridge is attached to the two crowns, which sit on each side of the bridge. The crowns are placed over the patient’s teeth, and bonded into place.
Dental Bridges Anchored by Dental Implants
Dental bridges that are anchored by dental implants is generally considered to be the superior treatment option because it does not require the removal of natural tooth structure for the crowns, and the implants can halt the degeneration of the jawbone - and even regenerate it. However, dental insurance may not cover the cost of the dental implants.
In addition, some patients may not want to choose this treatment option because it requires surgery. In this approach, two or more dental implants are placed in the jawbone. During the next three to six months, the jawbone and connective tissue heals around the implant so that it becomes a part of the jaw structure. When the healing is complete, abutments can be attached to the implants, and then the bridge can be attached to the abutments.
To find out if you are a good candidate for dental bridges, contact the practice of Kenneth W. Coffey, DDS.