If you are missing a tooth, you may want to consider getting a dental bridge. Dental bridges are a false tooth that is anchored in place by a dental crown, often bookended by crowns. The crown fits over a tooth beside the tooth gap, allowing the crown to fit snugly over an existing tooth. The false tooth of the bridge fills the gap left behind by a missing tooth. There are variations on this design available at Smiles For Life, but this is the basic setup for the majority of dental bridges that are placed.
Countless patients who’ve received dental bridges at our Harrisonburg, VA practice have questions about what to expect after the appliance is placed. Drs. Joe McIntyre, Dan Whiting, Kelsey Rockey, and Bryant Ash would like to consider the aftercare and recovery process for patients.
Adjusting to a Dental Bridge
Since placing a dental bridge involves prepping an existing tooth and filling a tooth gap, patients may notice some changes in their mouth. This may include:
- Tooth sensitivity
- Soreness when biting down
- Change in bite feel
- Change in mouth feel
- Speech impediments
Given these changes, there is an adjustment period once you have a dental bridge placed. This is natural and temporary.
How Long Will It Take to Adjust?
For most patients, adjusting to a new dental bridge only takes about two weeks. Patients will notice improvements as each day passes, gradually getting accustomed to the presence of the bridge.
How to Deal with Tooth Sensitivity
Since tooth sensitivity is a common issue after getting a dental bridge placed, we recommend the following:
- Avoid Hot and Cold Foods - Hot and cold temperatures can trigger bouts of tooth sensitivity. Consider lukewarm or room temperature foods and beverages in the days after getting a bridge placed.
- Avoid Crunchy and Hard Foods - Pressure on the bridge can lead to discomfort. To limit this pressure, try to eat soft foods. Avoid tough, chewy, and crunchy foods until you’ve adjusted to the bridge.
- Use a Toothpaste for Sensitive Teeth - While cleaning your teeth and your bridge in the first days after it has been placed, using a toothpaste that is designed to avoid sensitviity is ideal.
- Use Over-the-Counter Pain Relievers If Necessary - While the discomfort from a new bridge is tolerable, some people may consider taking a simple pain reliever if needed.
How to Properly Clean Your Dental Bridge
Cleaning your dental bridge is as simple as your normal oral hygiene routine:
- Brush your teeth at least twice a day (ideally after every meal)
- Floss your teeth at least once a day (ideally after every meal)
- Visit your dentist every six months for checkups
How Long Does a Dental Bridge Last?
For most people, a dental bridge will last about 10 years with proper care. Regular checkups and good oral hygiene practices can potentially extend the life of a bridge, so be mindful of your dental health.
What If I Have a Problem with My Dental Bridge?
If you still have problems with your dental bridge after a few weeks, be sure to speak with your dentist about these issues. This could be the sign of a complication that requires a dentist’s care.
Learn More About Dental Bridges
For more information about your treatment options for missing teeth, be sure to contact an experienced cosmetic and restorative dentist. The team at Smiles For Life is here to help you. You can reach our Bridgewater office at (540) 208-5911, and our Staunton office at (540) 887-3304.