What is a Dental Bridge?
A dental bridge works by bridging the gap which is created when one or more teeth are missing. A bridge is comprised of two or more crowns for the teeth located on each side of the gap. These teeth which serve as the anchor are called abutment teeth. A false tooth or teeth are then placed in between. The false teeth which are used are called pontics. They can be created from various materials such as gold, alloys, porcelain, or a combination of the materials. Dental bridges can be supported with natural teeth or implants.
Benefits of a Dental Bridge
- Allow for a correct bite and properly distribute chewing forces
- Maintain bone and face structure
- Prevent shifting of the remaining teeth
- Restore daily function with chewing and speaking
- Smile restoration
There are three different types of dental bridges which are commonly used which includes:
- Traditional bridges: a crown is created for the tooth or implant on both sides of the missing tooth, with a pontic in between. The most common type of bridge used is a traditional bridge. It is created from either porcelain fused to metal or ceramics.
- Cantilever bridges: this type of bridge is used when there are adjacent teeth on only one side of the missing tooth or teeth. This type of bridge is no longer very common and is not recommended for use in the back of the mouth as it can place too much force on other teeth and cause damage.
- Maryland bonded bridges: this type of bridge is also called a resin-bonded bridge. This bridge is created from porcelain, porcelain fused to metal, or plastic teeth and gums which are supported by a metal or porcelain framework. Metal or porcelain wings, which are often on one side of the bridge, are then bonded to the existing teeth.
Dental Bridge Process
During the initial visit for receiving a dental bridge, the dentist will prepare the abutment teeth. This preparation includes recontouring the effected teeth by removing a portion of the enamel. This allows enough room for the crown to be placed. Impressions of the teeth are then taking. The impressions will serve as a model for the dental lap who creates the bridge, pontic, and crowns. The dentist will create a temporary bridge which will be worn in order to protect the exposed teeth and gums while the permanent bridge is created.
The second visit will include the removal of the temporary bridge. The new porcelain or metal bridge is then checked and adjusted, as needed, in order to achieve a perfect fit. In order to proper check the fit of the metal framework and bite, multiple visits may be required. If cases there a fixed bridge is used, the dentist may temporarily cement it in place to ensure a proper fit is achieved. The bridge is typically cemented into place after a couple weeks.
Dental Bridge Cost
As with most dental procedures, the cost for a dental bridge will vary based on the type of bridge used, the health of your gums and teeth, and your location. In most cases, dental insurance covers a percentage of the fee, however be sure to check your individual dental plan to determine your coverage.
Dental bridges can last for five to 15 years or more. Through good oral hygiene practices, a balanced diet, and regular checkups, a fixed bridge often lasts for more than 10 years.
When a dental bridge is used to replace missing teeth, eating should actually become easier. While you are adjusting to the bridge, it is important to eat soft foods and cut your food into small pieces. Speaking clearly can be also a challenge for patients who are missing teeth. A dental bridge can aid in speaking properly as well.