A dental bridge is fabulous thing for people missing one or more teeth. It works literally like a bridge by connecting two teeth. This bridge structure is achieved with the help of two or more crowns for teeth on either side of the bridge.
Dental bridges are important not just because they help improve the aesthetic quality of your smile, but also because a missing tooth or teeth can cause several other issues. Missing teeth are often guilty of letting the other teeth in the jaw drift out of position because they are no longer tied in a compact setting.
It may also result in a poorly aligned bite because the bite structure will change due to the missing tooth.More serious issues could be a temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder or even the shrinking of the jawbone where the original missing tooth lay.
Such issues can easily be solved by a dental bridge through the presence of one or more artificial teeth that are placed in the mouth by placing dental crowns on the teeth on either side of the gap. These two anchoring teeth may often also be referred as abutment teeth.
Properly placed dental bridges serve the following purposes:
- Restore the aesthetic quality of your smile
- Improve your ability to speak
- Improve your chewing capacity
- Help maintain the shape of your face
- Evenly distribute the bite force
- Stop teeth from drifting out which may happen due to lack of support from other teeth.
Types of Dental Bridges
While all dental bridge procedures involve the use of pontic (an artificial tooth) to replace the gap created by the missing tooth/teeth; they can still be divided into 3 broad categories.
- The Traditional dental bridge which comprises of a porcelain or a gold tooth to be placed on either side of the artificial tooth. The crowns are usually permanently cemented to the anchoring teeth on either side of the bridge. The same procedure is followed irrespective of the fact if there is one pontic or several. But care must be taken that the dental crown is either natural or an implant. It cannot be a combination of both of them.
- The Maryland dental bridge, which is also popularly called as the Maryland bonded bridge or resin bonded bridge. This one consists of an artificial tooth that has metal wings extending out on both sides of the gap. It is these wings that are bonded to the adjacent teeth after the bridge is placed.
- The Cantilever dental bridge is usually used when the damage is more extensive and there is only one supporting tooth available as an anchor.
Though we have all 3 procedures available, and each comes with its own sets of benefits and risks; it must be understood that neither of them are interchangeable choices when it comes to replace that missing tooth. In fact, the kind of dental bridge that you require will depend upon the condition of your abutment teeth and mouth scenario in general.
The costs also vary accordingly; but it can be safe to say that the traditional dental bridge is the most common one with the greatest success rate and the highest longevity.
While placing a dental bridge is easy, it must not be forgotten that the success of the dental bridge is to a large extent dependent upon how healthy the adjacent teeth and the gums are. Hence, for a dental bridge to be really successful, it is crucial that your adjoining teeth stay healthy and strong.
Good dental hygiene like proper brushing, flossing, regular oral check-ups, and most importantly maintaining proper nutrition and diet are very important to achieve long life of the dental bridge. For other relevant care, our doctors are always available to guide you after your dental bridge procedure.
Before After Pictures
Answers to common patient questions
How Long Will the Dental Implant Bridge Last?
When cared for properly, traditional bridges can last 10 to 20 years. You can extend the life of the bridge with proper oral care.
How Often Should a Fixed Dental Bridge be Flossed?
We recommend that you brush and floss twice a day. You can also consider using water floss like waterpick and add some mouthwash in it which is a good option to keep the gums beneath the bridge clean bacteria free
Can you eat normally with a dental bridge?
You should be able to eat normally with a dental bridge. A dental bridge can restore both aesthetic and functional aspects adequately, however prognosis depends on the health of the adjoining teeth.