What are dental bridges?
A bridge is a fixture composed of two or more crowns used to correct the gap found between missing teeth. Bridges may be used when more than one tooth is missing. The two teeth on the ends of the bridge are called abutment teeth; the teeth in the middle are false teeth called pontics. Either natural teeth or implants can support dental bridges. Bridges are composed of materials such as gold, alloys and porcelain. The materials used depend on the type of bridge being created.
What are the different types of dental bridges?
Dentists use three types of dental bridges to help improve the appearance of your smile. The three types are:
- Traditional bridges are most commonly used. These bridges use a crown on either side of the missing tooth with a pontic between. They are composed of porcelain fused to either metal or ceramics.
- Cantilever bridges are used when there are natural teeth present on only one side of the missing tooth or teeth.
- Maryland bonded bridges, also known as resin-bonded bridges, can be composed of porcelain, metal or plastic. They are supported by a metal framework with wings bonded to the back of the existing teeth. Pontics are also bonded to the framework.
A consultation with your dentist will determine the appropriate bridge needed to improve the appearance of your smile.
What is the procedure used when getting a dental bridge?
Bridgework requires a minimum of two visits with your dentist. Additional visits may be required if multiple adjustments are needed. During the first visit, the abutment teeth are prepared by removing a portion of their enamel; this allows for proper placement of the crown. Impressions of your teeth are taken to create a model of the bridgework. Since it will take some time in the laboratory for the bridge to be created, you will be given temporary bridges in the meantime.
During the second visit, the permanent bridge will be put in place. The dentist will adjust the fit so that the device sits properly in your mouth. If the bridge is to be fixed, it will be cemented in place. Multiple visits may be needed to ensure the proper fit.
What are the benefits of dental bridges?
If you are missing one or more teeth, a dental bridge can be used to improve the appearance of your smile. Additional benefits of dental bridges include:
- Restoring your ability to chew food more easily
- Allowing you to speak clearly
- Keeping the remaining natural teeth in place
- Improving the function and appearance of your bite
- Maintaining the contours of your face
- Restoring your self-confidence and self-esteem
With proper oral hygiene, your bridge can last between 5 and7 years before needing replacement. Dentists recommend routine professional teeth cleanings and checkups to maintain the appearance and functionality of your dental bridges.