Dental bridges can restore the beauty of a smile and the function of teeth that are missing. They are strong, durable and easy to maintain with proper dental hygiene.
Missing teeth can make it difficult to chew food and pronounce words clearly. Bridges can eliminate these problems and improve the quality of a person’s speech.
They Replace Missing Teeth
Losing teeth can have a significant impact on your appearance and quality of life. Thankfully, dental bridges help restore your smile by replacing the missing tooth and filling the empty space. They also prevent remaining teeth from shifting into the gap, preventing the onset of bite problems, gum disease, and additional tooth loss.
A traditional fixed dental bridge consists of two crowns that are permanently bonded to natural teeth on either side of the gap, with a false tooth in the middle. It’s important to note that traditional dental bridges are only an option for patients who have healthy abutment teeth. They require the removal of a small amount of enamel from the healthy adjacent teeth, which may lead to issues in the long term. There are also alternative bridge options like the Maryland or cantilever bridge that don’t require alteration of abutment teeth and provide stronger support for the bridge.
The dental bridge treatment process starts with an assessment, which usually includes X-rays. The abutment teeth are then filed down and a mould taken to prepare the bridge for placement. The dentist will then cement the bridge to the abutment teeth and seal it in place. A temporary bridge might be provided for the patient to wear until their permanent one is ready. The bridge is made from porcelain bonded to precious or non-precious metals and can be designed to replace a single or multiple teeth.
They Restore Bite Functions
Dental bridges restore the functions of missing teeth, which include chewing and speaking. This is because they are anchored by healthy natural teeth, called abutment teeth. This prevents shifting of the remaining teeth and reduces the risk of bone deterioration.
Resin-bonded bridges are typically used for front teeth and need only minimal preparation of the adjacent teeth. They consist of a false tooth fused with resin to metal bands, which are bonded to the back of the adjacent teeth. Cantilever bridges are anchored to one side of the open space and require more extensive preparation of the adjacent teeth. They are recommended for areas of the mouth under less stress, such as the back teeth.
Traditional bridges are typically anchored by placing dental crowns on the abutment teeth, which then supports the bridge pontic (or false tooth). This process may cause some discomfort as your abutment teeth need to be recontoured to support the bridge.
However, this is a temporary problem that will resolve itself once the bridge has healed. Good oral hygiene habits are also important to promote longevity of your dental bridges. Brushing twice a day, flossing regularly, and having regular professional cleanings will help reduce your chances of complications with your dental bridges. These practices will also allow your dentist to diagnose any potential problems with your dental bridges at an early stage, when treatment is more effective.
They Are Durable
When properly cared for, Dental bridges can last 5 – 15 years. The key is to maintain good oral hygiene and regular cleanings to avoid plaque buildup on the anchor teeth. It is also important to avoid eating sugary foods and drinks as these can lead to tooth decay.
Before the actual process begins, dentists will prepare the surrounding teeth that will support the bridge by removing some of the enamel or filling in any cavities or decay. Next, impressions will be taken of the teeth with a putty-like material that serves as a blueprint for the custom-made bridge in a lab. Technicians will create pontics (artificial teeth), abutments, and connectors to form the final bridge.
Once the bridge is ready, it will be permanently cemented into place during a follow-up visit. Patients may experience some discomfort while they get used to their new bridge, but the stability of the restoration should allow them to chew and speak normally once again.
Bridges are typically made from porcelain or ceramic because they can be color-matched to the natural teeth and are strong and durable. Porcelain is also stain-resistant, making it easier to keep the bridge clean. In some cases, the dentist will use a special floss threader to move food stuck underneath the bridge out of its way, which can cause the adjacent teeth to decay if left unattended.
They Are Affordable
Dental bridges are a cost-effective option for tooth replacement. They are also more affordable than other tooth restoration options, such as implants. Many dental insurance plans will cover part of the expense for these major restorative treatments. If you have a flexible spending account or health savings account, these funds can be used to help with the expense. A dental discount plan can also help you save money.
The process for constructing and placing a dental bridge requires at least two affordable dentist visits. At the first visit, the doctor will prepare the teeth on either side of the gap. This may involve contouring and removing some of the surface of the teeth to create the abutment. An impression of the area is then taken and sent to a lab for fabrication. The patient will wear a temporary bridge to prevent sensitivity and protect the prepared teeth from damage until the permanent one is ready at the second affordable dentist appointment.
The abutment teeth are then fitted with crowns to provide a foundation for the bridge. The bridge is then fused to the abutment teeth with strong cement. While eating and speaking will require some adjustment, the final product will look and feel like your natural teeth. With proper oral hygiene and regular follow-up visits, the bridge can last for years.