A dental bridge is used to replace a missing tooth, and thus, fill up the gap left behind by that tooth. There are two other procedures that are used to fill the gap left behind by a missing tooth. These procedures are known as dental implant and partial dentures. There are basically three types of dental bridges – the traditional bridge, cantilever bridge, and the resin-bonded bridge, of which the traditional bridge is more commonly used for replacing a missing tooth.
The procedure begins with a careful examination of the teeth and gums of an individual, in order to determine if he or she is a right candidate for this procedure. This evaluation is followed by the preparation of the teeth that are going to support the bridge. These teeth are called abutment teeth. If the abutment teeth are decayed or broken, then they have to be rebuilt so that they can be used as the support teeth.
The sizes of the abutment teeth are reduced by removing a part of their enamel, so that they can hold the material to be used for restoring the size and shape of the original teeth in a correct alignment. The dentist takes an impression of your prepared teeth to create a model, which is then used for fabricating the bridge, the false tooth or the pontic, and the crowns for the abutment teeth.
In the meantime, a temporary bridge is fitted to protect the exposed teeth and gums. Once the actual or the permanent bridge is ready, a dentist removes the temporary bridge, and fit or cement the permanent bridge. The pontic or the false tooth is attached to the crowns that cover the abutment or support teeth. The pontic or the replacement tooth can be made from gold, porcelain, and alloys. The materials that are usually used for making bridges are, gold, porcelain, and porcelain fused to metal.
Is a Dental Bridge Good for You?
This dental procedure can be carried out for various reasons. A missing tooth can not only change your look and the beauty of your smile, but can also affect chewing. It can cause shifting of the adjacent teeth and temporomandibular joint disorder as well. The gap left behind by a missing tooth can also trap food debris, and thereby raise the risk of developing periodontal disease and tooth decay. For all these reasons, it is important to fill up the gap or replace the missing tooth, and a dental bridge is one of the most popular methods for this.
It can restore the appearance of a full set of teeth, besides improving your smile. However, a bridge is not as permanent as a dental implant. It can last 10 to 15 years or longer, if good oral hygiene is maintained. But it is less expensive, and is less time-consuming than a dental implant. A dental implant on the other hand, is an invasive method that involves surgery. Therefore, it is more time-consuming than a dental bridge.
Sometimes, this procedure can bring about certain changes in your teeth. An increased sensitivity to both hot and cold temperatures is such a change, and it is one of the most common problems faced by individuals after this dental procedure. The cost of this procedure is another important factor that needs to be taken into account. This dental procedure is quite expensive, though it is comparatively less expensive than dental implants.
Another disadvantage of this procedure is that the cemented bridge may become loose at times, and a considerable loosening of the bridge can result in the failure of the anchoring teeth. However, this problem is usually encountered when a bridge is supported by natural teeth. Bridges supported by implants can overcome this shortcoming.
The success of the dental bridge depends on the health of your teeth. If the surrounding teeth are strong and healthy, then the bridge can last for several years without causing any problem. Therefore, it is important to maintain the health of your teeth with regular brushing and flossing. If you have any queries regarding how to brush or floss your teeth after this dental procedure, talk to your dentist.