What To Expect At Your Two Bridge-Related Dental Appointments

If you're missing a tooth and your dentist has recommended replacing it with a bridge, you likely have two appointments scheduled for insertion of that bridge. The idea of having a new apparatus put into your mouth can be intimidating, and knowing what to expect at each of those appointments can go a long way towards calming your nerves.

At The First Appointment

During the first appointment, your dentist will be focused on preparing your mouth for the bridge and on determining what size and shape the bridge needs to be. You'll be given a local anesthetic to prevent any pain, and then your dentist will file the teeth on either side of your missing tooth to ensure they'll adhere to the crown material properly. Once the teeth are properly shaped, your dentist will have you bite into a special molding material. The mold will be used by the lab to make a specialized bridge in the proper shape and size.

Once your dentist is done taking measurements and making molds, you will be fitted with a temporary bridge before being sent home. The process of applying this bridge is painless -- the dentist will attach it with a special glue. Made from a tough plastic, it will cover the teeth neighboring your missing one and also fill in your gap. You'll be able to eat and drink as normal with this temporary bridge in your mouth, but you'll want to avoid very sticky and crunchy foods.

At The Second Appointment

Once your permanent bridge is made, you'll return to the dentist to have it applied. Most dentists administer local anesthetic for this procedure, since some additional filing may be required. Once you're numb, the dentist will remove your temporary bridge and then attach the permanent one using cement. Then, he or she will check your bite. The bridge (and the crowns on the neighboring teeth) will then be filed as needed to ensure your bite is properly aligned.

Once your bridge has been cemented and filed, you'll be set to go. Your dentist will give you some tips and advice for cleaning around your new bridge. Usually, it won't be possible to floss between the false tooth and the neighboring teeth, since the bridges on these teeth are attached to the crown. However, you will have to floss underneath the bridge (between the false tooth and your gums), and your dentist will likely show you how to do this before you leave.

Most patients adapt to living with a dental bridge quite easily. Now that you know what to expect, you can look forward to your appointment with excitement, rather than dread.