A dental bridge is a pontic (false tooth) that is used to close or bridge the gap due to missing teeth. They are held in place by using the teeth on either side of the gap as abutments. Dental bridges can be made with a variety of materials like gold. However, your dentist would recommend porcelain to aesthetically blend in with your natural teeth.
Why Do I Need Dental Bridges?
A missing tooth or teeth can affect you in multiple ways. These changes can be addressed by a dental bridge for:
- Preventing your remaining teeth from moving out of the correct position.
- Re-adjusting your bite to properly distribute forces while chewing.
- Maintaining the shape of the face.
- Restoring your pronunciation and speech.
- Restoring your ability to chew properly.
- Restoring your smile.
What Are the Different Types of Dental Bridges?
- Implant-Supported Bridges
As implied by the name, these dental bridges use dental implants as opposed to metal frameworks or crowns. Usually, one implant is placed surgically for every missing tooth, and these implants support and hold the bridge in place.
These dental bridges are often used for restoring teeth like molars and premolars as they are the strongest system. However, using too many implants can lead to implant failure or rejections.
- Composite Bridges
If you’re looking for an affordable and easy solution for replacing one or two teeth, composite bridges fit the bill. They are made and installed in a single visit by placing the composite bonding material directly into the tooth cavity.
An additional reinforcing wire or Ribbon can be used to provide more strength to the composite bridge. However, they are considered temporary and can be used by people with periodontal disease.
- Maryland Bridges
They are commonly referred to as winged bridges or resin-bonded bridges that are designed with plastic teeth. The metal frame is bonded to the existing anchor teeth and is used as a fortifying system. This system is efficient for the front teeth or incisors and canines.
Your dentist will make minimal adjustments to the contour of the abutment teeth making it cost-effective and easy. However, if you have a crossbite or a deep bite, you might require another option for dental bridges.
- Cantilever Bridges
When there is only one anchor tooth available for supporting the dental bridge, a cantilever bridge is the best option for filling the missing tooth gap. Saving money and time, cantilever bridges can work well if designed for the front teeth.
A good dentist will always consider the biting force when designing a cantilever bridge. The bridge is not suitable for use in the back tooth as a lot of bite force will be put on the abutment tooth.
- Traditional Bridges
They are the most popular dental bridges used for restoring lost teeth when you have natural teeth or implants on either side of the gap. They are lightweight and provide excellent chewing comfort by distributing the normal bite force evenly along the jawbone.
If you maintain an optimum level of dental hygiene at home, these implants can last a long time. However, a lot of enamel will be removed from the abutment teeth and they will need to be protected by well-fitted crowns.
What Is the Procedure for Dental Bridges?
The entire procedure for dental bridges may require a minimum of two appointments or sittings.
Visit-1: Tooth Preparation and Temporary Bridge
During the first visit, local anaesthesia is administered to ensure you feel no pain during the procedure. All abutment teeth are shaped and filed by remove enamel to provide a clear path to the other tooth.
After shaping the teeth, impressions are sent to dental labs where custom dental bridges are created. A temporary bridge will be placed over the newly shaped teeth and the gap with or without implants.
Visit-2: Permanent Bridge Placement
On returning for your second appointment, the temporary bridge is removed after providing a local anaesthetic. Then by using dental cement and x-rays of the bridge, your dentist will ensure that the bridge fits properly and is perfectly bonded.