What are Dental Bridges?

A dental bridge is a fixed prosthetic dental restoration placed where there are missing teeth. These could be one or more teeth. 

A bridge has a crown placed on either side of the teeth to support the pontic (artificial tooth), which is then cemented.

Who can benefit from a dental bridge?

If you have gaps in your teeth or are missing a tooth or two due to damage, injury, or decay, a bridge is a good option for you. Some people are born with missing teeth, congenitally, and can also benefit from them. Dental bridges require healthy teeth on the side that can support the pontic.

Why do I need a dental bridge?

A missing tooth or a gap in teeth can cause misplacement of other teeth because all teeth stay in place and work properly together. It is critical to fill the gaps to prevent other teeth from shifting out of place, which can lead to problems such as:

  • Biting issues
  • Difficulty in chewing
  • Toothache or jaw pain due to additional stress on your teeth
  • Self-esteem issues as a result of an irregular appearance

What are the Different Types of Dental Bridges Available?

There are three major types of dental bridges;

Traditional Bridges

This is a basic dental bridge, made of porcelain infused with ceramic or metal. It has a crown on either side of healthy teeth that supports pontics.

Cantilever Bridges

These bridges are used for the back teeth, mostly to prevent the force on healthy teeth that can cause damage. If there is only one tooth on either side of a missing tooth, cantilever bridges are the way to go.

Resin-Bonded Bridges or Maryland Bridges

Resin-bonded bridges need a metal or porcelain framework for support. They are made of porcelain combined with plastic or metal. These bridges have protruding small wings that help in bonding to the existing teeth.

What is the Dental Bridge Treatment Procedure?

The first step is to clean the gap and look out for any parts that need reshaping so that the bridge can fit perfectly.

  • Dentists will take an impression of your teeth to make the perfect size fitting for your bridge. The impression is typically sent to a lab so they can craft something that is perfect in size and also matches in color.
  • Until your bridge is ready, you may get a temporary one to wear.
  • To place the actual bridge, you need to visit your dentist for an adjustment of the bridge in your mouth.
  • You may need a post-treatment checkup to ensure that the bridge offers good biting and fitting.
  • Before permanent bonding, you will be asked to wear the bridge for the time being to see if it is the proper size.

In the start, dental bridges can cause a little discomfort like sensitivity or tenderness, typically for a week or less. It gets better gradually and starts feeling normal.

What happens during a procedure for a traditional dental bridge?

  • Abutment teeth preparation:

To make room for the bridge, your existing teeth on the sides are reshaped accordingly by removing a few parts of the enamel and dentin.

  • Impressions:

A dental scan is taken and sent to the lab for the construction of your crown, bridge, or false teeth.

  • Temporary bridge placement:

Until your bridge is made, you will be given a temporary one to keep in place.

  • Permanent bridge placement

Once the bridge is ready, it is fitted into your teeth and checked for any corrections or reshaping. If the fit is perfect, it is permanently bonded to the teeth.

How Long Does a Dental Bridge Last?

The expected lifespan of a dental bridge is somewhere between 5 to 15 years. It depends on various factors, like:

  • Patient to patient habits
  • Maintenance and care of the bridge
  • Quality and construction

If you are taking good care of your mouth and teeth, you can expect your bridge to last at least 10 years.

What are the advantages of this procedure?

Dental bridges offer various benefits, including;

  • Comfortable biting
  • Preventing natural teeth from moving out of place
  • Enhance chewing and speaking abilities
  • Improved smile

Do dental bridges have any risks or complications?

As such, a bridge does not cause any problems itself if it is fitted perfectly and you are taking good care of it. The major issue seen with bridges is that they get loose after some time. If your supporting teeth are in good health, your provider can help you cement them back again. A potential reason for bridge failure is decaying or fall out of supporting teeth.

How long do dental bridges last?

The expected life of dental bridges is usually 5 to 7 years. Visiting your dentist on a regular basis for professional cleaning, along with good oral habits, can extend the life of your bridges up to 10 years.

Is it hard to eat with a dental bridge?

Eating and chewing become easier with a dental bridge, than eating with missing teeth. However, you may need to get used to it. It is better to incorporate soft food in your diet if you are new to bridges.

Will the dental bridge change and help how I speak?

Speech problems can occur if you have missing front teeth. You can improve your speaking ability with time if the bridge is placed correctly.

How do I care for my dental bridge?

To last your dental bridge for a long time, maintaining the good health of your supporting or natural teeth is necessary. To prevent the loss of remaining teeth or a bridge, it is recommended to take measures that help prevent tooth decay or gum disease, as these two are the major causes of tooth loss.

The best practices to keep your teeth and gums healthy are:

  • Brush twice a day and floss daily: Your dentist can help you with a demonstration of how to brush or floss the right way. For bridges, there is a special type of floss known as “threader.” It conveniently slides between your gums and the bridge.
  • Get regular professional cleanings: visiting your dentist on a regular basis is helpful in detecting underlying dental issues
  • Eat a well-balanced diet that includes plenty of vegetables, fruits, and fibre.

Why is my bridge hurting?

The right way to deal with bridge pain is to contact your dentist without any delay. There are a myriad of reasons for pain involving bridges. Professional help is mandatory to precisely diagnose the cause. The potential chances for pain are that your bridge is too tight or loose, or decay under the crown could also be a potential reason.

Is a dental bridge better than a dental implant?

The major difference between a bridge and an implant is how they are placed, but the objective is to fill the gap left by missing teeth. To better understand what treatment you should go for, it is better to consult your dentist before getting one.

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