Having one or more missing teeth is a very common dental condition. It is not usually a serious condition, but can cause problems and affect your smile. There are many options available to replace missing teeth. As you will discover in this article, dental bridges are viable teeth replacement options that rival implants and dentures.
What are Dental Bridges?
A dental bridge is a type of restorative dental component that is created to permanently replace one or more missing teeth. Dental bridges are considered cosmetic (a visual improvement), but can also function to prevent future dental problems. People with missing teeth have a higher risk of developing tooth decay, periodontal disease, and a temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJD). In addition to replacing missing teeth and reducing your risk of serious dental conditions, dental bridges can also improve the way you talk.
A bridge typically consists of three parts: a pontic (false) tooth to cover the empty space and two abutment (support) teeth.
There are three types of dental bridges available: resin-bonded, conventional, and cantilever. Your dentist will determine the best option for your situation. Resin-bonded bridges are considered the best alternative when the missing tooth is located in the front of the mouth. Conventional dental bridges consists of a pontic tooth adhered to two crowns. A cantilever bridge involves a single abutment and a pontic tooth. Best Candidates
People who have teeth missing are perfect candidates for dental bridges. The best candidates for resin-bonded dental bridges are people whose teeth are in good condition and where the two abutment teeth are not damaged are restored. A missing tooth in the front of the mouth without abutment teeth is the ideal scenario for a cantilever bridge. The pontic is fastened to at least one abutment tooth.
Placing dental bridges involves creating crowns for the area of the missing tooth and the abutment (teeth on either side) of the missing teeth. The treatment for bridges starts with the abutment. After the dentist administers local anesthesia, he or she will clean and prepare these teeth to become supports for the bridge. The preparation stage involves reducing the size of the abutments to fit the pontic teeth.
The dentist then obtains an impression of the adjacent teeth, which is molded and sent to a lab to create the final dental bridge. The dentist fits your teeth with a temporary bridge for you to wear while the lab completes your final bridge. The temporary bridge also functions to protect your teeth from injury. The dentist will contact you to return to their office to remove the temporary bridge and fit and cement the final bridge. For resin-bonded dental bridges, the abutment teeth are bonded to the pontic with metal bands.
Dental bridges are permanent. If you are uncomfortable with this idea, you might want to consider removable restorative components, such as partial dentures.
If you practice good oral hygiene and visit your dentist for regular checkups, your dental bridges may last a decade.
There is a short adjustment period for dental bridges. For example, hot or cold beverages may cause some sensitivity. Your dentist should discuss any other experiences that may occur with your new bridge.