A dental bridge is a safe and effective solution for tooth replacement. It restores a person’s smile and appearance. More importantly, it addresses additional dental and bite-related problems as a result of permanent teeth loss.
True enough, there are many reasons why adults lose teeth. Poor hygiene, age, and accidents are all contributing factors. Whatever the cause, getting dental bridges will surely improve the overall oral health of an individual.
What is a Dental Bridge?
A dental bridge is aptly named so because it was created to bridge the gaps caused by missing teeth. The bridge will be put in place of the spot where the person has a missing tooth.
It has two components: the pontic and the anchor crowns.
A pontic is a false tooth. It will replace the missing permanent tooth. Its position is exactly where there is a gap.
To complete the bridge, the pontic will be cemented and put in between two anchor crowns.
These anchor crowns serve as pillars that hold the bridge together. They are hollow teeth caps that will be placed over the natural abutment teeth.
Dental bridges are often made from porcelain to match the appearance of natural teeth. However, some people prefer the use of gold metal and alloys.
Benefits of Getting Dental Bridges
- Restores a person’s smile
- An effective and fast solution to replace missing teeth
- Easy to maintain
- Improves the person’s speech
- Reduces the risk of jawbone loss. When there is no continuous pressure from chewing, the bone tissues resorb. This eventually leads to bone loss on the part where the patient is toothless.
- Prevents facial collapse. Because of missing teeth, the mouth and lips of a person may begin to look different. The lips may look flatter or thinner than before. Cracks may also start forming at the corners of the mouth.
- Prevents future bite problems. Dental bridges help remaining teeth become intact and stay in their position.
Types of Dental Bridges
There are four types of dental bridges.
In a traditional bridge, the false tooth (or teeth) is placed in between two hollow crowns. The latter safeguards the natural teeth and at the same time provides support for the pontic.
This kind of bridge is for cases when only one abutment tooth can give support to the pontic. Hence, there is only one dental crown over one abutment tooth.
Cantilever bridges are not as strong as traditional bridges. Ideally, it should only bridge the gap of one missing tooth.
When teeth on both sides of the missing tooth are intact and healthy, the dentist may avoid trimming them. In this case, anchor crowns will not be used. Instead, the pontic will be supported by resin cement that will be bonded at the back of abutment teeth.
For this reason, Maryland bridges are also called resin-bonded bridges. The strength of a Maryland bridge is dependent on the resin bond that holds it.
Instead of using natural teeth as an abutment, the dentist will put titanium dental implants on the jawbones. Then, the actual bridge will be attached to the implants. The process involves surgery and may take several months to complete.
This is usually best for patients missing two or more teeth. Note that the patient must have strong gums. The patient must have a jawbone that can support the placement of the implants.
What to Expect With the Process
Traditional bridges are the most common among the four types of dental bridges. However, it is not necessarily the best option.
Each patient has a unique dental condition as well as preferences. To determine which is best for you, consult properly with a trusted dentist.
Procedures may vary depending on the type of bridge, but here are what you can expect:
First, the dentist examines your teeth and mouth. Here, you can determine if you are suitable to get a dental bridge.
Next, preparation of abutment teeth will begin. Then, it is time for the dentist to get a dental impression of your mouth.
Keep in mind that dental bridges are custom-made. This means that it will not be ready on the first visit. Meanwhile, the dentist may opt to put a temporary bridge on the patient.
On your second visit, the temporary bridge, if any, will be removed. The dentist will then proceed with the placement of the permanent dental bridge.
During the process, the dentist will have to make sure that the bridge fits perfectly and comfortably.
Expect to feel slight soreness for a few days. Eventually, the mouth will adjust and the discomfort will disappear.
While there are many benefits of having your missing tooth replaced by a bridge, you might still be wondering what risks are involved.
Here are some possible problems that you need to be wary of:
Tooth Decay. The abutment teeth wearing the anchor crowns have the highest risk of decaying. As the enamels of these teeth are thinner, proper care and hygiene is a must.
Gum Disease. Technically, bridges help prevent the onset of gum disease. However, if a patient has periodontitis, make sure that the infection does not reach the gums around the abutment teeth and bridge.
Fractures. Eating hard food constantly can take a toll on the bridge. Fractures may develop and eventually damage the dental bridge permanently.
The Cost of Dental Bridges
There is no standard fee for dentists and dental treatments. For dental bridges, the cost depends on the number of pontic and its materials. The dentist will also take into account the complexity of the placement method.
The Life Span of Dental Bridges
Dental bridges can last for 10 years. The life span of the bridge can be shorter or longer depending on how the user takes care of it. With proper care and hygiene, it can even last up to 15 years.
How to Care for Dental Bridges
The foundation or the neighbouring teeth that support the bridge directly affects its longevity. That is why it is important to properly take care of your teeth and gums.
- Choose what you eat. Avoid eating hard or sticky foods.
- Brush your teeth at least twice a day. Rinse with mouthwash.
- Floss daily.
- Visit your dentist regularly. Get professional teeth cleaning every six months.
Where to Get Your Dental Bridge
We take pride in the quality of service that our patients get from our clinic. Moreover, the crowns and bridges we custom-make are strong and long-lasting.
If you have missing teeth and want them to be replaced, dental bridges might just be the right solution.