A dental bridge is a prosthetic which bridges the gap between two healthy teeth using crowns. The healthy teeth act as the supports and are known as abutments in this case. If you don’t have two healthy teeth is possible to make a bridge between a single tooth and an implant or two implants – it doesn’t matter as long as they can support the crowns over the gaps. You can choose the material of the crowns bearing in mind where they are in your mouth and how strong or natural you would like them to be. There are four types of bridges: fixed bridges, bonded bridges, front teeth bridges and implant supported bridges.
Advantages of Bridges
- Cost effective
- Look like natural teeth
Disadvantages of Bridges
- Do not have roots so bone will dissolve in the area.
- Face will sag in time.
- If decide to have implants later will need a bone graft.
- Do not last as long as implants
- Neighboring healthy teeth are damaged.
These are the most popular kind of bridges.The abutments have to be filed down so that the crown can fit over them. This sometimes exposes the root and so you may need root canal treatment on these teeth. The removal of the enamel also means that if you ever decide to replace the bridge with implants the supporting teeth will need to remain crowned to protect them.
The abutments support the artificial teeth, called pontics ,in the gaps. The supporting teeth need to be strong and healthy as they will be taking extra biting pressure.
Your dentist will take impressions and then send these to the lab to have your bridge custom made, this will take at least 5 days so you may be given a temporary bridge to wear while you wait. You will be called for a fitting when any adjustments can be made and then the bridge will be cemented in place.
Bonded Bridges ( Maryland Bridge)
These are a more conservative than fixed bridges and are used if there is only one gap it is possible to use one pontic with metal or porcelain flaps on the side, these flaps are bonded to the sides of the adjacent teeth so that the supporting teeth do not need to be filed down. As you can imagine this bridge is not as strong as a fixed bridge, especially if used in the molar areas, but saves any damage to the supporting teeth.
Front Teeth Bridges
If you have one or both front teeth missing your bridge may need 2 supporting abutments on either side. This is because there is already a lot of pressure on your front incisors so using your lateral incisors as well distributes this pressure over a larger area.
It is very important to keep your bridge clean and you should floss once a day. You may find that Superfloss is easier to use than regular dental floss. This has a stiff end to floss under appliances and also a spongy side to clear around the bridge.
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