An overview of dental bridges to replace missing teeth.
This article provides an overview of dental bridges to replace missing teeth. So, let’s start with the basics — what’s a dental bridge, anyway?
Well, a dental bridge refers to a series of fake teeth that replace one or more missing teeth. There are several different types of dental bridges, but the most common type is the traditional dental bridge, i.e., the fake replacement teeth are held in place by one or two dental crowns over the surrounding teeth.
The false teeth are called ‘pontics,’ and they can be made of several materials, including gold, porcelain, alloys, etc. The dental bridge must be supported either by your actual teeth or by dental implants. If the dental bridge is held in place by your actual teeth, then those surrounding teeth are called the ‘abutment teeth.’
What are the advantages of dental bridges?
Dental bridges are extremely useful because they restore your smile, replace your missing teeth, allow you to chew and speak properly, maintain your facial structure, prevent the surrounding teeth from drifting out of alignment, and ensure the proper distribution of bite force between your other teeth. Without dental bridges, your surrounding teeth may start drifting out of alignment, eventually affecting your general facial structure, which, in turn, may cause several dental problems.
What are the types of dental bridges?
- Traditional Bridge: Traditional dental bridges are those in which the fake teeth (pontics) are held together by dental crowns attached over the surrounding teeth. This the most popular type of dental bridge — the pontics, in this case, are usually made of ceramics. The only problem is that the surrounding teeth have to be shaved down to a small stub to accommodate the dental crown. As such, getting a traditional bridge means changing the dental structure of your surrounding healthy teeth.
- Cantilever Bridge: Cantilever dental bridges are those in which the pontics are supported by a dental crown on one side. In this case, only one of your surrounding teeth will be shaved down to accommodate the dental crown. However, this method isn’t very popular because it doesn’t ensure proper bite force distribution, affecting your surrounding teeth. It’s not recommended for the back teeth.
- Maryland Bridge: Maryland bridges are dental bridges made of porcelain or porcelain fused to metal. These are also called bonded bridges because they include porcelain or metallic frameworks bonded to the back of the surrounding teeth, i.e., the abutment teeth. This is the least invasive type of dental bridge, but it’s also a lot weaker than other types of dental bridges.
- Implant-Supported Bridges: Dental implant-supported bridges are the best type of dental bridge available. In this case, the dentist screws a titanium post or implant into the missing tooth’s jawbone. Over time, the jawbone grows around the screw, anchoring it in place. Once your jawbone has healed completely, the bridge is attached over the implant. Getting implant-supported bridges is a long process, but it provides the strongest foundation for your bridges, without needing to shave the surrounding healthy teeth.
What happens during a dental bridge procedure?
The precise steps involved in the dental bridge procedure vary. So, let’s talk about the traditional dental bridge procedure.
During your first dental visit, the abutment teeth will be prepared. The dentist will remove some of the surface enamel, shaving your teeth down to a small size. The dentist will also take impressions of your teeth for the dental bridge and pontics. The dental bridge preparation may take a week or two — in the meantime, you can wear a temporary dental bridge to cover up the abutment teeth.
During your second visit, the dentist will remove the temporary bridges, and the new dental bridge will be attached in place. The dentist will attach the crowns over the abutment teeth to hold the bridge. You may have to go back to the dentist repeatedly for a few weeks to make sure your dental bridge is cemented properly.
How long does a dental bridge last?
In most cases, dental bridges last between 5 and 15 years. However, the precise longevity of your dental bridge depends on your maintenance and oral health. You must brush and floss your teeth carefully, including around and under your dental bridge. You should also rinse your mouth with an antibacterial mouthwash, and go for regular teeth cleaning sessions. You must avoid bacterial decay and gum disease because that can compromise your dental bridge as well.
Can a dental bridge be done in one day?
In most cases, dental bridges are done in two sessions spaced apart by a week or two. However, in some cases, the dentist may provide a same-day dental implant and immediately attach the dental bridge over the implant. You should discuss your dental bridge options with your dentist to determine the best option for your specific needs.
Can you repair broken bridgework?
Minor fractures and cracks on dental bridges can be fixed with dental bonding. However, major fractures and cracks may necessitate dental bridge replacement. Please talk to your dentist about your dental bridge repair options.
When is a removable dental bridge a good solution?
You should consider getting a removable dental bridge when you have numerous missing teeth or when the jawbone or abutment teeth are too damaged to support dental crowns of implants. You should talk to a dentist specializing in bridges to discuss your bridge options.
Schedule an appointment with a dentist specializing in bridges.
Sapphire Smiles is one of the most reputable dental clinics, led by an exceptional dentist specializing in bridges. For more information, please schedule an appointment with our dental center in Houston, TX, today.