Bellingham Dentist

COVID-19 Update & Appointment Check-in Protocol – Read Details »

Dental Bridges: Know What To Expect

The Procedure, Recovery and Complications

What is the procedure for having a dental bridge?

That’s depending on the type of bridged agreed. For a traditional bridge, the teeth on either side of the gap are prepared – removing any decay and grinding them down. Next, an impression of the mouth is taken. The dentist will put a temporary bridge on the grounded teeth for protection.The patient returns for the next appointment after a couple of weeks when the temporary bridge is replaced by the final bridge work.

It is the same process for cantilever bridges, except that only one tooth will need a crown. A Maryland bridge requires less preparation, since no crowns are involved. Both bridges also require at least two appointments. When a person has implants to support a bridge, the process typically begins with implant surgery. Then, the dentist will take an impression of the mouth to create a bridge that fits over the implants seamlessly.

How soon will a patient recover from the procedure?

The patient will feel some tenderness and soreness after teeth grinding; likewise, after the placement of the bridge. The gums may be tender and bleed. After a few days the soreness will subside for most patients. However, the gums may need a few weeks to completely heal.

The patient can return to work or go back to school as soon as they feel well enough, and this is usually the day after the appointment. Those who choose to be sedated during the bridge placement should not drive after the procedure. Similarly, those who opted for implants may feel unwell after waking up from anesthesia and may need assistance for a day or two after the procedure.

Bridges need the usual care afforded to natural teeth. Good oral hygiene is essential. Dental appointments, at least twice yearly, should be observed to check the bridge and clean the teeth.

Are there complications?

There can be bridge failure. It may slip out of place or break which would require another bridge, implants, or other dental procedures. There can be pain or chewing problems. Patients can struggle adjusting to chewing in the weeks after the procedure. The bite may be adjusted if necessary. There can be an infection if the patient has widespread tooth decay or gum disease.

It is possible for a tooth to continue to decay under the crown that anchors the bridge. This is more common in people with serious gum disease or very severe cavities in the teeth that need crowns. To prevent tooth decay around a bridge, it is crucial to practice excellent home care, including brushing and flossing. Some floss products are designed for use with bridges. Working with a knowledgeable dentist and carefully following their aftercare instructions can reduce the risk of serious complications.


Dental Bridges at Tetrick Family Dentistry

Dental Bridges are a cost-effective alternative to dental implants, and represent a good solution for many people who are missing teeth. Contact our Bellingham office if you have any questions or concerns about dental bridges.