A dental bridge is a prosthetic restoration device made to fill a gap left by a missing tooth or teeth. This bridge consists of faux teeth – also called a pontic – made from various materials, such as porcelain, gold, or other metals. On both ends of this bridge are dental crowns, which are fitted over the natural teeth – also called the anchor or abutment teeth on both sides of the gap. Not only does a dental bridge restore your teeth’ structure aesthetically, but it also reinstates your ability to chew your foods.
Table of Contents
- 1 Who needs a dental bridge?
- 2 Types of Dental Bridges
- 3 Dental Bridge Procedure
- 4 Caring For Dental Bridges
- 5 Dental Bridges Before and After
- 7 What are the benefits of dental bridges?
- 8 Dental Bridges FAQs
- 9 Consult An Expert
Who needs a dental bridge?
You may be a good candidate for a dental bridge if you have lost a tooth or teeth due to tooth decay, injury, gum disease, or dental treatment. This dental restoration option is also helpful to bridge a dental gap that has been there since your birth due to a congenital condition. Having that said, you must have healthy teeth on either side of the missing teeth to qualify for a dental bridge.
Types of Dental Bridges
Dental bridges are mainly divided into four types, which are:
- Traditional bridges
- Cantilever bridges
- Maryland bridges
- Implant-supported bridges
Let’s have a brief look at all these types one by one.
Traditional bridges are the mainstream dental bridges, usually consisting of porcelain, ceramic, gold, or other metals. This bridge consists of two crowns and a pontic. The crowns are settled over two abutment teeth next to the missing tooth. The abutment teeth are filed and shaped for the accurate fitting of the dental crowns.
Traditional dental bridges are not exclusively ideal for restoring the back teeth (molars and premolars). They can also be used for other teeth, as long as there are healthy abutment teeth on both sides of the gap. These bridges may last a long time, provided that you take good care of them.
A cantilever bridge is similar to a traditional bridge. However, it uses only one dental crown. Hence, only one tooth must be filed and shaped to anchor this dental bridge.
A Maryland bridge uses two natural teeth as abutments, one on each side of the missing tooth. However, this bridge uses a porcelain or metal framework or wings instead of crowns. These wings are bonded to the back of the abutment teeth.
It is worth mentioning that a Maryland bridge is not as strong and durable as a traditional bridge. For this reason, it is more suitable for front teeth or the ones that do not have to endure much pressure. However, a Maryland bridge doesn’t require the filing of the abutment teeth. Hence, the structure of those teeth won’t be reduced.
Implant-supported bridges are pretty similar to traditional or cantilever bridges; the only difference is the abutment teeth, in this case, are dental implants. These bridges fall into the category of most durable dental restorations, thanks to the vastly recognized strength of dental implants.
An implant-supported bridge involves two distinct steps:
- Embedding the dental implant(s) into the jawbone
- Placing the bridge once the dental implant fuses to the jawbone
Dental Bridge Procedure
A typical dental bridge procedure involves two dental appointments. Here is a detailed overview of what these appointments entail.
Treatment during the first dental appointment starts with the dentist administering local anesthesia to the area around the abutment teeth.
Once the treatment area is numb, the dentist starts filing the abutment teeth, making them ready for the accurate adjustment of the bridge’s crown. This filing process involves the removal of the tooth enamel along with the additional structure that may interfere with the bridge.
After shaping the teeth, the dentist creates an impression of the treatment area and sends it to a dental lab where customized dental bridges are prepared. The dentist will adjust a temporary bridge that will remain there until the permanent bridge is ready.
Fitting The Permanent Bridge
The dentist will call you for a second appointment once your customized, permanent dental bridge is ready. They will remove the temporarily placed dental bridge during this appointment and clean the treatment area. They might administer local anesthesia before removing the dental bridge if there is pain or sensitivity.
Once the treatment area is prepped, the dentist will fit the permanent bridge there. Then, they may take a dental x-ray test to ensure that it is a secure fit. After that, they will use a special bond to cement that bridge permanently.
Caring For Dental Bridges
If you want your dental bridge to remain in place for a long time, make sure to take care of your teeth and gums. This is because the surrounding teeth provide the necessary support to the abutment teeth and the bridge itself. Therefore, it is essential to stay on top of your dental hygiene and care. The best dental care practices to stick to in this regard are brushing twice, flossing, and using an antiseptic mouthwash daily.
Aside from oral hygiene, you have to watch what you eat. A balanced diet with a healthy proportion of all nutrients will help you with your physical and dental health. The longevity of your dental bridges will emerge as a secondary but much-needed outcome in this regard.
Furthermore, it is vital to visit a dentist biannually. They will check your dental health in general and see how well the bridge is supporting your smile aesthetics and dental functions.
Dental Bridges Before and After
What are the benefits of dental bridges?
Dental bridges come with a myriad of benefits, including but not limited to:
- Restoring the natural appearance of your smile
- Helping you speak correctly by aiding your enunciation
- Preventing bone loss in the jawbone, helping you maintain your facial structure
- Helping you chew your foods
- Preventing adjacent teeth from sliding to fill the space created by missing teeth
Dental Bridges FAQs
Is a bridge better than an implant?
A bridge is likely a better option than a dental implant if you have lost more than one consecutive tooth. Going for the dental implants in such a case will necessitate the surgical placement of a dental implant for each of your missing teeth. Not only will this lead to an extended recovery duration and significant downtime, but the overall treatment cost will also be multifold.
How Long do the Dental Bridges last?
The average lifespan of dental bridges is five to seven years. You can extend this lifespan to 10 years with good oral hygiene and regular dental visits.
Is getting a dental bridge painful?
The placement of dental bridges is pain-free due to local anesthesia used during the procedure. You may feel some pain when the numbing effect subsides. This pain is normal because it subsides in a few days.
Is it hard to eat with a dental bridge?
No, it isn’t. On the contrary, a dental bridge may actually improve your chewing function and help you chew your foods well.
Do dental bridges come with any risks?
The risks associated with dental bridges are imminent only when you get this treatment from a less trained dentist. For instance, a dental bridge that doesn’t fit well can cause decay to the natural tooth under the crown.
Consult An Expert
Do you want to restore your dental aesthetics and ability to chew with a dental bridge? EuroMed Clinic Dubai is here to help. We have board-certified dental doctors who use the best practices of restorative dentistry to help you win your desired smile along with the proper dental function. For more information or to book a consultation, please fill out the form below.
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