A dental bridge is an oral device that bridges or fills in the gaps created by a missing tooth or teeth. A bridge is made from two crowns built onto a tooth that sits on each side of the missing tooth or teeth.
These crowns are used to anchor the oral device or bridge that is replacing the missing tooth or teeth. The two teeth with the crowns are called abutment teeth. The false replacement teeth are called pontics and can be made from a variety of different materials which can range from gold, alloys, porcelain or some combination of all these materials.
BENEFITS OF A DENTAL BRIDGE
Gaps left by missing teeth eventually cause the remaining teeth to rotate or shift into the empty spaces, resulting in a bad bite. The imbalance caused by missing teeth can also lead to gum disease and temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders.
- Restore your smile
- Restore your ability to properly chew and speak
- Maintain the shape of your face
- Distribute the forces in your bite properly by replacing missing teeth
- Prevent remaining teeth from drifting out of position
WHAT IS A DENTAL BRIDGE?
First and foremost, the most obvious benefit of dental bridges is that they restore the look of your smile. However, there are other benefits that dental bridges provide as well. They help you to properly chew and speak by distributing the forces in your bite properly. They also help to maintain your facial shape and prevent other teeth from drifting out of position. Replacing the missing teeth in your mouth helps the other teeth in your mouth to keep their proper position. The false teeth can be supported by natural teeth or dental implants.
- A dental bridge consists of two crowns which are attached on either side of the pontic – the replacement tooth.
- These two crowns are cemented to the abutments – the natural teeth or implants on either side of the empty space and act as anchors for the pontic.
As with crowns, you have a choice of materials for bridges. Our dentist can help you decide which to use, based on the location of the missing tooth (or teeth), its function, aesthetic considerations, and cost. Porcelain or ceramic bridges can be matched to the color of your natural teeth.
TYPES OF DENTAL BRIDGES
There are three primary bridges that a person can utilize to replace missing teeth. The traditional bridge is the most common type of bridge used for missing teeth. Crowns are placed on each side of the missing teeth and pontics, or false teeth are placed in between. They can be made from a porcelain blend or a ceramic. Cantilever bridges are used to replace a single tooth and are used when there are adjacent teeth on only one side of the missing tooth. Maryland bonded bridges made of false plastic teeth and gums fused on a metal framework. Metal flaps on the side of the bridge are attached to your existing teeth.
The first step in the process begins by preparing the natural teeth or implants around the missing teeth. The abutment teeth are re-contoured in preparation for the crown and impressions are made of the teeth so that the bridge and the pontics can be prepared by a dental laboratory. While the bridge is being made, a temporary replacement is worn over the exposed gum and teeth to protect them while the permanent bridge is being made. After the permanent bridge is made the temporary bridge is removed and the permanent one is put in place. Adjustments are made for comfort and fit, however, it may take multiple adjustments before the right fit is accomplished.
Dental bridges last anywhere from 5-15 years, and sometimes even longer. When a dental bridge is well cared for, it’s not unusual for it to last over ten years. Initially, you may need to eat softer foods when the dental bridge is first put in place, but replacing the missing teeth will actually make eating easier. A dental bridge may actually improve speaking as well. Brushing and flossing regularly will help keep your teeth healthy as well as protect the integrity of the bridge. The bridge is put in place using healthy teeth as anchors.
TYPES OF DENTAL BRIDGES
The dental bridge is an effective solution for missing teeth that have been used as a solution for many years. There are three primary types of dental bridges that are used to treat different situations where missing teeth are present. The traditional bridge is the most common and used in most situations where a bridge is being put in place. However, the Maryland bridge and the Cantilever bridge are viable options as well. Typically, in situations where just one tooth is being replaced, the Cantilever bridge is usually the option that’s used for a single missing tooth. A dental bridge can last for many years when it’s properly cared for. Furthermore, the integrity of your facial structure and other healthy teeth can be restored and protected by opting to get a bridge to restore missing teeth.
Contact us today and schedule an appointment with our office to get an opinion on your need for dental bridges.
Don’t hesitate to contact us to discuss any aspect of your dental health – we don’t charge for giving advice!