What is a Dental Bridge?

Dental bridges are an alternative to dental implants or dentures. If you have a missing tooth or two, you can use a bridge to fill the gap and maintain a good mouth shape. The process is simple and not very invasive, which is why it is so popular among patients with missing teeth. However, before you choose this treatment, it is important to understand just wants involved in it. Here’s a detailed look at the tooth bridge treatment:

What are Dental Bridges?

Dental bridges are prosthetics that are used to replace natural teeth and fill the gap left behind by them. As their name suggests, the prosthetic acts as a bridge between one tooth and another. Dental crowns are anchored on the teeth on either side of the gap and the prosthetic teeth between them fill the gap. The bridge is adhered to the anchor teeth with dental cement, which makes the treatment very durable. 

Who Will Need Dental Bridges?

Dental bridges are a good choice for patients with a few missing teeth. If you have only one or two missing, the gap will be small enough to form a strong bridge. Some of the most common reasons by people need dental bridges include:

  • Tooth loss due to severe decay. 
  • Tooth loss due to injury. 
  • Tooth extraction due to extensive damage. 
  • Tooth loss due to gum disease. 

If you have a gap for any reason and need a permanent solution for the problem, dental bridges are a great solution. They are often a recommended treatment for people who aren’t ideal candidates for dental implants as well. 

What is a Dental Bridge Like?

A teeth bridge has two sections; an abutment and pontics. The abutment are essentially tooth crowns placed on the teeth on either side of the gap. Your dentist will file down these teeth carefully to make them strong anchors for the abutment. The bridge will then have false teeth in between called the pontics. These teeth just rest on healed gums and look like natural teeth. They’re not anchored directly. 

When the prosthetic is in place, it looks completely natural and stable. No one can tell the difference between natural and artificial teeth. They are custom-made to suit the general shape and color of your natural teeth, which makes them a popular choice among people with missing teeth. 

Why Should You Get a Dental Bridge?

It is never a good idea to let a gap remain unattended. Over time, the surrounding teeth will start to lean in and the jawbone will start to erode. Unfilled gaps will also change the shape of your mouth considerably. Some of the benefits of getting a dental bridge include:

  • You get a better bite because you have all of your teeth in place. 
  • You have better speech because there are no gaps between teeth. 
  • There are no chewing problems. 
  • There’s no need to deal with sore teeth and jaw because of additional pressure on surrounding teeth. 
  • You will never feel self-conscious about smiling again.
  • Your quality of life will improve as you will be able to eat freely. 
  • The procedure is fairly painless and non-invasive. 

These are the biggest advantages of choosing dental bridges. Visit your nearest dentist to get a comprehensive examination to see whether you’re a good candidate for bridge dentistry treatment. Depending on the condition of your jaw and the number of teeth missing, the dentist may recommend dental implants instead or ask you to consider a combination of implants and bridges. 

What are the Different Dental Bridge Types?

Dental bridge treatment has developed considerably over the years and there are different types available today. Here’s a look at the options to consider:

1. Fixed Dental Bridge

Fixed dental bridge or traditional fixed dental bridge is the most common and popular choice. There are dental crowns on either side of the bridge and filler teeth in the middle. This bridge needs to be anchored on natural teeth or dental implants to remain in place. 

The bridge is available in a wide range of materials like ceramic, porcelain, metal, and ceramic bonded with metal. Each option has their pros and cons that you should discuss with you dentist before treatment. The traditional bridge is very stable and will remain in place for years at a time. You will not need to replace it unless the crown is damaged. 

2. Cantilever Dental Bridge 

Cantilever dental bridge is a good choice for people who don’t have teeth on one side of the gap, which means they have only one anchor point. In this case, you have two options. You can either get a cantilever bridge or get a dental implant for more stability. The cantilever bridge has one anchor point that acts as an abutment for the entire bridge. The other corner of the bridge remains unanchored and is held in place because of the placement and positioning done by the dentist. 

Cantilever bridges aren’t loose or unstable but they’re not as secure as traditional fixed bridges. We recommend discussing the pros and cons of these bridges with your dentist before the procedure to make an informed decision. 

3. Maryland Dental Bridge 

This bridge is made from ceramic bonded with metal or ceramic framework so it is considered by many to be an ideal choice for front teeth. These teeth are the most visible parts of your mouth, which means their appearance can have an impact on your facial features. The ceramic has a natural tooth-like translucency that ensures the bridge blends in with your natural teeth easily.

There are wings or anchors on either side of the bridge that rest on your natural teeth to provide some stability. They are bonded using strong dental cement, which makes this a relatively permanent treatment alternative to dentures. 

4. Implant-Supported Bridge 

Implant-support bridges, as the name suggests, are supported by dental implants instead of natural teeth. They’re a good option for people who have many missing teeth but don’t want to get implants for every tooth. This dental bridge is similar to traditional fixed bridges. The two corners of the bridge are supported by implants and abutments mounted on those implants. 

You will need to undergo a dental implant process, which can take a few months, before you undergo this procedure. Implant-supported bridges are very secure and will stay in place for many years if you take proper care of your replacement teeth. 

These are the different types of dental bridges you can choose from. A dentist may recommend a specific type based on your current dental health and preferences. Be sure to discuss the pros and cons of every option carefully. 

Are There Any Risks of Getting a Tooth Bridge?

Dental bridges are very safe and usually don’t carry any risks, especially if you practice proper dental hygiene and visit a dentist every six months or so. The only issues you may face include:

  • Decay or misalignment of surrounding teeth. 
  • Dental cement erosion. 
  • Physical damage to the prosthetic teeth. 

If you notice that your dental cement has eroded and your bridge is not as stable as it used to be, you may need to visit the dentist to get it reapplied. 

What Happens During the Dental Bridges Installation Process?

Your dentist will explain the procedure in detail during the consultation so you know what to expect. However, we will provide a brief glimpse of how the procedure works:

  • Preparing the Abutment – The first step during the process is to prepare an abutment that will act as an anchor for your teeth. This involves reshaping the anchor teeth to create space for the dental crowns. During the process, your dentist will remove some of the enamel and dentin to prepare.
  • Dental Impressions – Once the preparation is done, the dentist will take a dental impression. This is usually done manually with a cast or digitally with a 3D scanner. A comprehensive impression allows dentists to create customized dental bridges that fit perfectly in your mouth and blend in with your natural teeth. Once the impressions are complete, they are sent to a lab to get custom bridges. You will get a temporary bridge to remain in place until the permanent ones are ready. 
  • Permanent Dental Bridge Placement – Once the permanent bridge is ready, you can visit the dentist to get it installed. The dentist will remove the temporary placement and attach the permanent one. They will carefully check to see if the fitting is right before adhering the dental bridge with cement. 

This is everything you need to know about dental bridges. If you have more questions, consider speaking with your dentist. 

FAQ

1. How much does dental bridge cost?

The average cost of tooth bridges can be anywhere from $500 to $1,200 per bridge. Sometimes the cost can be more if you need additional treatment like implants. 

2. How to floss when you have a bridge?

You can floss as you always do around the dental bridge. Don’t floss the bridge itself as that will damage the prosthetic. Your dentist will give you detailed instructions on the process. 

3. Does dental bridge placement hurt?

No, dental bridge placement doesn’t hurt. You may experience some discomfort when the dentist is preparing abutments but not any severe pain. 

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