As the name suggests, Dental Bridge basically bridges the gap caused by the loss of teeth. Dental bridges consist of two or more ‘abutment teeth’ which provide support to the false tooth present between them. This false tooth (Pontic) fills the gap created by the missing ones, whereas the abutment teeth work as the anchor. The pontics (false teeth) are made of alloys, porcelain, silver, or gold, and often a combination of all.
Dental bridges are not just a basic cosmetic fix for your missing teeth. Bridges not only help you retain your smile and appearance but also protect the remaining teeth. It helps you enjoy your food and speak freely in public without being concerned about your look or speech impediment caused by the missing teeth.
There are mostly three types of dental bridges that are used currently. Traditional bridges are the most commonly used by dentists. It has two anchoring crowns on either side of the filling tooth (the pontic). The common material which is used to make traditional bridges is porcelain which is fused to either ceramics or metals.
The Resin-bonded bridge or the Maryland bridge are also made of porcelain and fused to metals or in some cases a plastic teeth-set with gums. This plastic teeth-set gets support from a porcelain or alloy/metal framework. It is also planted on either side of the missing tooth with wings supporting the pontic.
The Cantilever bridge is used when the missing tooth has a healthy tooth on only one side. This is the case when you lose one of the teeth on the extreme ends of your teeth set. Unlike the other types, the cantilever bridge has only one anchoring tooth that carries the load of the pontic, putting extra pressure on the healthy tooth. As a result, this type is used very rarely these days due to the excessive pressure it creates on the healthy tooth which eventually causes damage.
After examining your teeth and the gums, the dentist will first prepare the abutment teeth. The procedure starts with shaving off a portion of the enamel of the anchoring teeth on each side. This will provide room for the crowns of the abutment teeth. Later, an impression of the teeth will be taken which will help to find the right shape and size of the entire set including the pontics, crowns, and bridge. As the procedure to prepare the entire set takes a while, you will have to wear a temporary bridge for protection of the exposed teeth and gum.
A few days later, you will have to visit the dentist for the installation of the bridge. After the installation, the specialist will take a look at the fitting and the bite impression which will determine the efficiency of the procedure. In some cases, the specialist might have to take a few more looks at the bridges to determine if it is a proper fit.
Having a dental bridge helps you eat better but it may take a few days to get accustomed to the bridges. If taken care of properly, a dental bridge can last between 12 to15 years, sometimes even longer. The procedure is simple, pain-free, and it doesn’t take a long time to allow you to get back to your normal routine.
A dental bridge not only helps you eat or talk properly, but it also protects the surrounding teeth from losing their positioning as well as grip on the gum. It is one of the most popular procedures worldwide, recommended to all age groups, especially adults and elderlies.