With a figurative nod to the phrase ‘closing the gap,’ a dental bridge is an effective way to address a gap between teeth. This article will examine the purpose of dental bridges, their types, the process of getting a bridge, their longevity, potential complications, and alternatives.
We will use evidence-based research to provide a comprehensive overview of the efficacy of a dental bridge to serve the greater community.
What Is a Dental Bridge?
A dental bridge is a prosthetic device used to replace missing teeth. It is typically made of metal, ceramic, or both. A dental bridge is constructed from one or more false teeth, known as pontics, which are held in place by dental crowns affixed to the natural teeth, known as abutment teeth, adjacent to the gap left by the missing tooth.
Several types of bridges exist, including traditional bridges, cantilever bridges, and temporary bridges. Traditional bridges are the most commonly used type of bridge and are composed of two dental crowns placed on the abutment teeth, with the pontic suspended between them. Cantilever bridges are used when only one or two abutment teeth are available and require only one dental crown. Temporary bridges are often used when a patient is awaiting dental implants or another form of treatment and are typically made of acrylic or metal.
Dental bridges can help restore the patient’s ability to chew and speak properly while providing a more aesthetically pleasing smile.
What Are the Benefits of Dental Bridges?
Replacing missing teeth can have various advantages. Dental bridges are among the most popular treatments for restoring oral health and aesthetics. Bridges can replace one or more missing teeth and come in various types, including resin-bonded, permanent, and implant-supported bridges. A dental bridge procedure involves creating an artificial tooth, which is then attached to the existing healthy teeth with dental cement or metal clasps.
Once the dental bridge is placed, it is a permanent restoration that helps prevent healthy teeth from shifting and restore the patient’s ability to chew and speak normally. The bridge also helps to maintain the form and functions of the mouth by distributing the force of the bite over multiple teeth instead of a single tooth. A dental bridge can also improve the patient’s overall facial appearance.
Bridges can also help to prevent gum disease and decay that can occur when there are gaps in the teeth. By filling these gaps, a dental bridge can help to protect the health of the surrounding teeth and gums. Overall, dental bridges can be a great solution for people who are missing one or more teeth and are looking for a long-term restoration solution.
What Types of Dental Bridges Are There?
Different varieties of artificial teeth, known as dental bridges, exist to replace one or more missing teeth. The type of bridge needed will depend on the individual’s situation and the number of teeth to be replaced.
The most common type is the traditional bridge, supported by two neighbouring teeth prepared for crowns. A partial denture is another type of bridge used to replace multiple teeth, but some surrounding teeth are left intact. Implant-supported dental bridges are also available where a single tooth is replaced, and dental implants support the bridge.
Proper care of dental bridges is important to avoid tooth decay and other problems. It is important to practice good oral hygiene and to visit the dentist for professional cleanings regularly. Many dental insurances will cover some of the costs associated with dental bridges, so it is important to check with your insurance provider.
To ensure that the dental bridge is placed in the correct position and functions properly, it is important to visit an experienced dentist. The dentist will examine the area and take X-rays to determine the best action. With proper care and maintenance, dental bridges can last for many years, helping to restore the patient’s smile and confidence.
What Is the Process of Getting a Dental Bridge?
Obtaining a dental bridge requires an initial consultation with a dental professional. The dentist will evaluate the tooth structure during this visit and determine the appropriate bridge option.
Depending on the type of bridge, the dentist may take an impression of the teeth and send it to a laboratory for fabrication. For adhesive bridges, the dentist will shape the teeth, place a metal framework on them, and then fill the framework with porcelain to create the bridge. The dentist will also shape the teeth for a cantilever dental bridge and then create a metal bridge attached to the adjacent tooth.
During the bridge procedure, the dentist will place the bridge in position and secure it with an adhesive. The dentist may make adjustments to ensure a comfortable fit and proper bite.
After the bridge is in place, the patient will return for a follow-up visit to ensure it is functioning properly and that the bite and fit are correct.
How Long Does a Dental Bridge Last?
A dental bridge typically lasts five to fifteen years, depending on its type and the amount of wear and tear it receives. Dental bridges are designed to last as long as possible, as they are meant to replace a missing tooth or teeth with a permanent structure.
A bridge is typically made of porcelain crowns and plastic teeth and is held in place by a dental bridge structure. The cost of a bridge depends on the materials used and the complexity of the treatment, as well as the installation process.
Proper dental visits are necessary to ensure the bridge remains in good condition and lasts its full life span. Regular visits are also important to ensure the bridge remains secure and does not cause damage to the surrounding teeth.
With proper care and regular visits to the dentist, a dental bridge can last up to fifteen years.
What Are Some Common Complications of Dental Bridges?
Complications associated with dental bridges can include gum inflammation, difficulty flossing, and tooth decay. Although a dental bridge may provide a permanent solution to missing teeth, there is still a risk of complications. Here are a few of the common complications:
- Tooth extraction: When a dental bridge is installed, it may require one or two anchor teeth to be extracted.
- Temporary crowns: The temporary crowns used to support the bridge may cause irritation, inflammation, or sensitivity to hot and cold food.
- Poor dental care: Without proper dental care, the risk of infection, periodontal disease and decay can increase, leading to the need for a replacement tooth.
For patients considering dental bridges as a treatment option, it’s important to seek out experienced dentists and follow their instructions for dental health. This includes regular dental check-ups, brushing and flossing, and avoiding hard and sticky foods.
Soft foods should be consumed while the bridge is being installed and adjusted. With proper care and attention, dental bridges can provide a safe and effective way to restore your dental health.
What Are the Alternatives to Dental Bridges?
Alternative treatment options for dental bridges may include implants, partial dentures, and other dental prostheses. Dental implant-supported bridges are a permanent tooth replacement option made from metal, porcelain or ceramic. A custom-made bridge, also known as a unit bridge, is designed from impressions taken of the patient’s existing teeth. This treatment offers several benefits, such as improved bite force and chewing efficiency.
A bespoke bridge is custom-made to fit the patient’s mouth, and bridge abutments are used to support the bridge. The bridge style and bridge costs vary depending on the material used and the complexity of the treatment. Dental bridges can provide an aesthetic improvement to the patient’s smile and oral health. With proper care and maintenance, dental bridges can last for many years.
Dental bridges offer an effective solution to those suffering from missing teeth, providing a strong, aesthetically pleasing bridge between the gaps. With a range of bridge types available and a relatively straightforward process for placement, this restoration option is often a viable choice for those seeking to improve their dental health.
Although potential complications can arise, with proper care and maintenance, a dental bridge can last for many years, closing the gap and helping to restore a patient’s smile. Thus, it can be said that dental bridges are a bridge to a better dental future, an apt metaphor for a procedure that can restore oral functionality and confidence.
If you’re looking for a reliable solution to missing teeth, consider dental bridges to restore your smile and oral functionality. At South Melbourne Dental Smiles, we offer a range of bridge types, and our experienced dentists in South Melbourne will ensure that you get the best bridge for your needs. So don’t wait – contact us today and visit our practice in South Melbourne, VIC, to start your journey to a better dental future.