What is a Dental Bridge – Overview
A dental bridge is a permanent implant that is used to replace missing tooth or teeth. It is made of multiple pieces that are joined together to fit perfectly into the space where the missing tooth/teeth were. Dental bridges are considered an excellent alternative to partial dentures and can help you to speak and eat properly, besides making your set of teeth look normal and natural.
A dental bridge is made of different types of materials, including porcelain, gold and alloys. Porcelain is mostly preferred as the material for dental bridges that replace front teeth, so it matches your natural tooth color.
Let’s take a closer at what dental bridges are, the types of dental bridges and their advantages and disadvantages, among other things.
What Are the Different Types of Dental Bridges?
Pontics is the term used to describe the artificial teeth used in dental bridges. You will need to have a pontic for every missing tooth. A pontic is designed to mimic the natural shape of the missing tooth. These pontics are fixed to a tooth next to the missing one or directly to a dental implant.
There are four main types of dental bridges:
1 – Traditional Fixed Bridges
Conventional fixed dental bridges are the most commonly used and include a crown on both sides of the pontic.
2 – Maryland Dental Bridges/Resin-bonded Bridges
These are usually used to replace missing or broken front teeth. As opposed to crowns, this type of dental bridge uses metal or porcelain frameworks with ‘wings’ that are affixed to the back of your teeth on each side of the gap.
3 – Implant-Supported Bridges
This type of dental bridge requires an implant for each missing tooth and is surgically embedded into the jawbone during one procedure. The bridge has pontics which are placed over the missing tooth with another procedure.
4 – Cantilever Bridges
These dental bridges were popular previously and were useful to replace a missing side of a natural tooth by anchoring the pontics to a single crown on the natural tooth.
What are the Advantages of Dental Bridges?
Following are the distinct advantages and express benefits of using dental bridges:
- Get a natural smile and mouth
- Restore your ability to speak normally, as missing teeth often make it difficult to enunciate
- Help to chew food properly.
- Maintain normal facial expression by preventing bone loss from the jaw at the site of the missing tooth
- Prevent adjacent teeth from shifting to the empty space, which can create problems with biting and other complications
What are the Disadvantages of Dental Bridges?
As with any implant, dental bridges also pose certain risks of complications, such as:
- Later damage the adjacent teeth and compromise the bridge
- Plaque and bacteria can take hold in the bridge or crown and cause tooth decay
- The bridge can collapse if the adjacent teeth are not strong enough to provide support
- Adjacent teeth can get weak with the procedure and may need to be replaced with implants too
Who should get Dental Bridges?
Not everyone is a good candidate to undergo a dental bridge procedure. You should talk to your dentist first and find out if the procedure will benefit your particular case.
Some of the main factors that help to determine if a person is a good candidate for a dental bridge treatment are:
- Missing one or multiple teeth
- Having healthy teeth and strong bone structure to support the bridge
- Having overall good health with no infections or serious medical conditions
- Having good oral health
- Can perform oral hygiene and maintain the condition of the dental bridge
How to Take Care of a Dental Bridge?
Dental bridges are “permanent” because they cannot be removed like dentures, but they don’t last forever. The average lifespan of a dental bridge is between 5 and 7 years. This needs proper care as some bridges can last for over a decade with dental care. Additionally, future advances in dental bridge technology will likely produce more durable implants.
Adopting good oral hygiene habits is the best way to care for your dental bridges. It is important to prolong the effectiveness of dental bridges. Similar to your natural teeth, you will need to brush and floss your dental bridges twice a day.
Ask your dentist or dental hygienist about proper flossing and cleaning methods for dental bridges. Besides this, it is also important to visit your dentist regularly for frequent dental cleaning and exams.
Dental bridges are considered to be a better alternative to dentures. These are oral implants that are useful to replace missing teeth. They are made of different materials and fit perfectly to provide natural eating and speaking abilities. Make sure to discuss the possibility of getting a dental bridge instead of a dental implant if your dentist recommends it.
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