What are Dental Bridges?
A dental bridge is a restorative fixture that can replace one or more consecutive missing teeth. The bridge is made up of one or more artificial teeth between two dental crowns. The crowns are fixed onto the two neighboring natural teeth to complete the row of teeth. Materials used to make dental bridges include porcelain, gold, alloys, or a combination of materials. There are many different types of bridges to fit a patient’s specific restorative needs.
The Different Types of Dental Bridges
Traditional dental bridges are the most common type of bridge, and include placing a crown on the teeth on either side of a missing tooth. These crowns are connected to an artificial tooth, which fills the gap. This bridge is normally made of porcelain fused to metal or ceramic materials.
Cantilever dental bridges are used at the back of the mouth where there is only adjacent teeth on one side of the missing tooth. However, they are not used much in dentistry today as Cantilever bridges can put too much force on the supporting teeth and cause damage.
Resin-bonded bridges or Maryland bonded bridges are made of porcelain fused to metal or plastic teeth and gums, which are supported by a porcelain or metal framework. Resin-bonded bridges have wings on all sides of the bridge, which the dentist bonds to the natural teeth.
The Dental Bridge Procedure
During the first visit and step in the procedure, the neighboring teeth will be prepared by removing their enamel and contouring them to allow room for the crown placement. The dentist will makes impressions of the teeth after the contouring, which is used as a mold to make the crowns and artificial teeth. While the permanent bridge is made in a dental laboratory, a temporary bridge may be placed on the area to protect the exposed teeth and gums.
During the second visit, the temporary bridge will be removed and replaced by the new metal or porcelain bridge. Any adjustments to the fit will then be made. Achieving the proper fit may take multiple visits for the dentist to check the bridge framework and your bite. During this time, the bridge will only be temporarily cemented into place. Once all the adjustments have been made, the bridge will be permanently cemented.
The Benefits of a Dental Bridge
- Restore your smile
- Improve ability to speak and chew properly
- Help maintain a healthy face structure
- Distributes bite force properly
- Helps remaining teeth maintain their correct positions.
- Closes the gap created by one or more missing teeth to give a complete smile that boosts self-esteem and overall health
Dental bridges can last between 5 to 15 years, depending on the patients dental health. A patient who practices good oral hygiene and attends regular dental exams can extend the longevity of their dental bridge.