December 27, 2021
What is a Dental Bridge?
A dental bridge is a fixed restoration to replace one or more missing teeth.
It is a false tooth or teeth typically made of crowns held in place by the abutment teeth on either side of the gap.
Imitating the look, shape, and function of natural teeth, dental bridges are custom-made for every patient.
Generally made from porcelain to aesthetically blend in with the natural teeth, they require healthy teeth on either side of the missing ones.
What Does a Dental Bridge Look Like?
A typical dental bridge has:
- Abutment teeth: A dentist or prosthodontist removes some structure from the abutment teeth before placement. These lend support on each side of the bridge. These anchoring teeth, or supporting teeth, can be natural teeth or dental implants.
- Pontics: This false tooth that fills in the gap and attaches to the crowns. Dental bridges are usually made of porcelain & attached to a metal structure for support. Some are made of all-ceramic, a combination of porcelain & other materials.
When Are the Benefits of Dental Bridges?
One can lose teeth to gum disease, an injury, decay, or a failed root canal.
If one already has dental crowns on the supporting teeth, then the dentists may recommend a bridge if the patient can’t get implants for medical reasons.
A missing tooth or teeth can affect normal life in several ways. A dental bridge works towards restoring those changes like
- Restoring the smile
- Restoring the ability to chew properly
- Restoring the speech and pronunciation
- Maintaining the shape of the face
- Re-adjusting the bite to properly distribute the force when one chews
- Preventing the remaining teeth from moving out of the right position
Some more advantages of dental bridges are:
- A quicker procedure that doesn’t require invasive surgery, unless the bridge is supported by implants.
- Faster Recovery time
- More affordable option
What Are the Types of Dental Bridges?
There are four types of Dental Bridges
The most common type of dental bridges are Traditional Bridges and they consist of ceramic, porcelain fused to metal, or all-metal-like gold.
They consist of one fake tooth, called a pontic with a dental crown that has been cemented onto each of the abutment teeth and holds the bridge in place on each side. They last a long time with proper care.
Cantilever Dental Bridge
Similar to the traditional bridge, the pontic in a cantilever dental bridge is secured by a dental crown that is cemented to only one abutment tooth.
A dental crown is positioned over the unhealthy tooth on either side.
They are typically used to restore front teeth and aren’t strong enough to support molars and are an option for people who have teeth on only one side of the gap.
Implant-Supported Dental Bridge
The strongest and most stable system, implant-supported bridges use dental implants as opposed to crowns or frameworks.
Generally, an implant is surgically placed for every missing tooth, to hold the bridge in position, normally requiring two surgeries, one to embed the implants in the jawbone and a second to place the bridge.
This type of bridge is used to restore premolars and molars.
Maryland Dental Bridge
Also called adhesive bridges, Maryland bridges are less invasive than traditional bridges.
However, just like a traditional bridge, Maryland dental bridges employ two natural abutment teeth, one on each side of the gap.
But as opposed to traditional bridges which use dental crowns on the abutment teeth, a Maryland bridge uses a framework of either metal or porcelain attached to the backsides of the abutment teeth thus lesser tooth removal is necessary for Maryland bridges.
They are primarily used to restore incisors and scarcely used to restore missing molars or canines.
How Do I Care for My Dental Bridge?
The success of the dental bridge depends on the strength of the remaining teeth.
It is particularly significant to prevent tooth decay and gum disease that may lead to tooth loss.
Some useful tips for the protection and longevity of the dental bridge.
Brush and Floss
Extra and diligent oral hygiene techniques are essential after the placement of a permanent bridge.
Use mouthwash to rinse often and brush at least twice a day, and regularly floss underneath the bridge.
Regular Professional Cleanings
A regular visit to the dental provider can help detect problems early, making the treatment more successful.
Add plenty of fruits, vegetables and fiber to your diet. Also try to limit chewy, fibrous foods like some meats.
Avoid sticky or chewy foods like gum and candy, and hard foods like nuts, chips and Ice cubes, etc
Traditional, Maryland and cantilever bridges are somewhat painless procedures but a few people may experience gum swelling or tenderness.
Over-the-counter pain medications like ibuprofen can help to manage the pain.
What Does a Dental Bridge Cost?
Many variables that can affect the cost include:
- The type chosen
- Number of teeth needed to fill the gap, the materials used, such as composite resin, zirconia, or metal alloy covered in resin
- Type of the bridge that you select
- The difficulty of the placement
- Additional treatments for other dental issues, such as gum disease
If you have insurance, it may cover up to 50 percent of the total cost of a bridge.
A Word From Kirkland Premier Dentistry
Missing teeth can affect how you eat, talk and smile. A dental bridge aids in restoring the look and function of your mouth.
Call for an appointment with Dr. Gaurav Sharma at Kirkland Premier Dentistry for a discussion about different replacement options. Dental bridges have many benefits and there are many factors including costs that you need to consider before making a choice.
Dental bridges fill the gap caused by missing teeth and can last for several years. Maintaining good oral hygiene and seeing your dentist regularly for cleanings can help increase their life.