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Replace Missing Teeth with a Custom Dental Bridge

Missing teeth can detract from the beauty and function of your smile and impact your overall quality of life. A traditional dental bridge is made up of one or more artificial teeth, also known as pontics, nestled between two dental crowns. We offer both traditional dental bridges, which rely on neighboring healthy teeth, and implant-supported bridges, which are attached to posts placed in the jaw. These restorations can be fixed or removable. When you visit Oro Valley Smiles in Oro Valley, AZ, Dr. Len Gerken can review your dental needs, preferences, and lifestyle to recommend the most appropriate option for you.

Understanding Your Candidacy

An implant-supported bridge can replace missing teeth from root to crown, preserving the overall integrity of your smile. 

During your visit, we will begin by conducting a thorough examination of your teeth, gums, and jawbone. You will likely qualify for a dental bridge if you have good oral health and are missing one to three teeth in a row. If you are interested in a traditional bridge, it is also critical that the teeth adjacent to the gap are healthy and sound, as they must support your restoration.

Patients who want the added benefits of an implant-supported bridge must have sufficient jawbone tissue to support dental implants. Dr. Gerken can take digital x-rays or other advanced scans for a more comprehensive evaluation of your teeth and jaw. If you have sustained jawbone atrophy, Dr. Gerken may first perform a preliminary bone graft to ensure a successful treatment outcome. 

The Dental Bridge Procedure

To place a traditional dental bridge, we must first prepare the neighboring teeth. Dr. Gerken will conservatively reshape each tooth to ensure your bridge fits comfortably in your smile. Once these teeth are ready, we can take impressions, which will be sent to a partner laboratory in Phoenix for fabrication.

Your bridge will be carefully matched to blend with the color and sheen of your natural enamel for lifelike results. While you wait, we may place a temporary bridge to safeguard you from dental sensitivity. Once your final prosthetic is complete, roughly seven to 10 days later, you can return to our office for its placement. After checking the fit and color of your bridge, we will secure it in place using dental cement.

A traditional dental bridge relies on crowns placed over adjacent teeth for support.

Patients receiving an implant-supported bridge must first undergo dental implant surgery. They must also wait for the implants to fully integrate with the jawbone before they can support a permanent restoration. While this process extends the timeline of your treatment by four to six months, implant-supported restorations provide unparalleled results and a lifetime of benefits.

The Importance of Replacing Missing Teeth

Tooth loss can not only affect the appearance of your smile, but also your ability to enunciate clearly and chew properly. In addition to impaired dental function, tooth loss can compromise the structure of your jaw. When missing teeth are left unaddressed, the jawbone naturally begins to deteriorate, as it does not receive vital stimulation from the tooth roots. Over time, jawbone atrophy can lead to more widespread tooth loss and impact your facial contours, resulting in puckered lips and sunken cheeks.

While a traditional bridge can restore dental function and aesthetics, it cannot address bone loss. On the other hand, an implant-supported bridge can replace missing teeth from root to crown, preserving the overall integrity of your smile. 

Speak, Eat, and Smile with Ease

If you are missing one or more teeth, our team can help. We invite you to contact our office online or call (520) 498-0500 to schedule your consultation with Dr. Gerken. It is our goal to provide you with streamlined, efficient care so you can achieve a strong, healthy smile. 

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The best dental office. Extremely professional and yet very personal, targeted care. They always make me feel so welcome and stress my dental health is of the utmost importance. Dr. Gerken may be the best dentist in southern Arizona. I recommend him to anyone who has fears or qualms about seeing the dentist. You will be absolutely amazed.

-Alexis C.