A dental bridge is a restoration solution used to replace a missing tooth or teeth. Bridges are very similar to crowns in that it involves coverings or ‘caps’ for your teeth, except that it also replaces any existing gaps that you have between your teeth. Similar to how a road bridge connects one area to the other, a dental bridge spans the gap between one tooth to another with dental crowns allowing for the gap to be closed. They are fabricated in a dental laboratory by a dental technician and then later cemented on. They are fixed in place and do not need to be taken in and out like a denture is.
They can also be made from a variety of materials, such as porcelain/ceramic, gold/metal, or a combination of both. Each of them has its own advantages and disadvantages – your dentist will discuss the options with you specifically for your case.
Dental bridges are used to restore both the function and appearance of your smile and also maintain the alignment of your surrounding teeth.
As the name suggests, this is the most common or traditional type of bridge in dentistry. These bridges are used when there is a tooth available on both sides of the gap.
These bridges are mainly used when you only have a tooth available on one side of the gap. Specific circumstances can allow for it to be utilised when there are still teeth on both sides of the gap.
A bridge where the false tooth that covers the gap utilises one or two ‘wings’ that are connected to the inside of the teeth on either side, rather than with dental crowns. Whilst more conservative than the other types of bridges, it is only suitable for specific circumstances.
Whilst having a missing tooth certainly isn’t the end of the world (perhaps unless it’s a front tooth!), there are potential consequences of leaving the gap as it is.
There are the more obvious issues with the unsatisfactory appearance of a missing tooth as well as decreased ability to chew food properly. The less obvious issues can occur over a longer period of time. With the presence of a gap, the surrounding teeth can shift and become misaligned. This can lead to gum problems and dental decay, and sometimes the tooth that used to bite against the missing tooth can even erupt into the space left behind. Tooth loss can also cause changes in facial appearance, including sagging of your cheeks. A bridge helps to maintain the natural structure of your face.
You may be interested in dental implants but may not have enough bone to support them. Dental implants can also require minor surgery and for some people, this might not be suitable. It’s worth keeping in mind that bridges are also cheaper than implants.
The fabrication of a dental bridge is very similar to a dental crown and will typically involve two appointments.
Firstly an examination is required to assess the tooth and the rest of your oral health. X-rays may be required to help further assess your teeth. This is to ensure that your specific case is suitable for a bridge. Your dentist will discuss the procedure in further detail and any risks specific to your case.
Local anaesthetic is used to help make the procedure as comfortable as possible. If you’re anxious about dental treatment, your dentist can discuss possible sedation options with you. Any decay and old filling is removed and the core part of the teeth may need to be built up to help support the bridge. The overall size of the teeth is made smaller to allow for the bridge to fit and then an impression is taken of your teeth. A temporary bridge will be made and placed as necessary.
At the next visit, the temporary bridge is removed and your new bridge is checked to make sure the colour matches your other teeth and that it fits properly. It is cemented into place and then checked and adjusted as necessary to make sure it fits with the way you bite your teeth together.
It can be normal to have some discomfort and sensitivity once the anaesthetic has worn off – this typically resolves within a few days or so.
Some of the incredible benefits of getting a dental bridge include:
Similarly to crowns, there are a variety of factors involved which determines how long it will last. Most importantly, it will require proper care with good oral hygiene and avoidance of putting excessive stress on it (such as tooth grinding and clenching, chewing on ice cubes, etc) in order to get the maximum life out of it.
Just like crowns, the bridge itself won’t get dental decay but the area where the tooth joins the bridge can. Good oral hygiene with regular brushing and cleaning underneath the bridge will be required to help prevent decay and gum disease around it. Because the parts of the bridge are all connected as one piece, you won’t be able to floss normally as if it were a natural tooth or dental crown. It will require extra care and attention to ensure it is cleaned properly.
Your dentist can discuss specific advice to help you get the most life possible out of your new dental bridge.
At Purity Dental, we understand the importance of a healthy and happy smile. That’s why we are committed to providing our patients with exceptional dental care that can restore your teeth and improve your oral health.
Our team of highly experienced dental professionals uses the latest techniques and state-of-the-art equipment to ensure that your dental bridges are of the highest quality. We take the time to understand your needs and concerns and work with you to find a solution that fits your unique condition.
Contact us today to get started on the beautiful smile you deserve!