A dental bridge is a dental procedure designed to replace one or more missing teeth. False teeth are created to fill the gap and are anchored in place using healthy teeth on either side of the gap.
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Dental Bridge Quick Details
WHO IS THIS FOR
Patients looking to restore the appearance and function of their dentures.
Good candidates are those who have strong healthy teeth on either side of the tooth gap.
Dental bridges involve a two-part procedure that takes place on two separate days.
Each session takes between an hour to an hour and a half.
Any minor pain caused by the insertion of the bridge should subside in a few days.
Success rates with dental bridges are very high.
In terms of long terms success, bridges can last between 5 and 15 years with good care.
POTENTIAL RISKS & SIDE EFFECTS
Allergic reaction to the anesthetic or restorative material
Increased risk of decay in the abutment teeth
Pulp damage or death resulting in tooth loss
What Is a Dental Bridge?
A dental bridge is a false tooth, otherwise known as a pontic, that is held in place by anchoring it to the surrounding teeth. The pontic is specially shaped to fit your mouth and the anchoring teeth will need to be recontoured to hold the bridge in place effectively.
How Do Dental Bridges Procedures Work?
During your initial consultation your dental surgeon will assess your suitability for dental bridge surgery. Good candidates for dental bridges are patients with healthy teeth surrounding the gap you wish to fill. If your surgeon detects any underlying conditions with the surrounding teeth that may develop in the coming years, they may recommend a dental implant instead, as this form of dental procedure is not reliant on the presence of strong abutment teeth. You dentist should run through the advantages of each procedure regardless and may need to take an X-ray to get a proper sense of which one is ideal for you.
Your dentist will use a local anesthetic while recontouring the abutment teeth to hold the crowns that will hold the bridge in place. The final procedure, where the bridge is cemented in place, is usually painless but your dentist may opt for the use of a local anesthetic again to ensure a comfortable experience.
Dental bridges involve a two-part procedure.
In the first part, your doctor will file and reshape the teeth next to the gap that is to be filled to make them suitable for holding the bridge in place. The dentist will then make an impression of the newly shaped area and send it to a lab so that a bespoke pontic can be created for you.
Your dentist may then create a temporary bridge or filling. This is mostly done for aesthetic reasons but also to provide protection for the reshaped teeth before the permanent teeth are cemented into place.
Once the pontic comes back from the lab, your dentist will arrange another appointment for you. At this session, the temporary filling will be removed and the area underneath thoroughly cleaned. The dentist may employ the use of a local anesthetic before applying dental cement and permanently fixing the new bridge into position.
Are There Different Types of Dental Bridges?
There are three main types of dental bridges available.
Traditional Dental Bridges
By far the most common choice when it comes to the use of bridges, the traditional dental bridge involves the placement of a pontic that is held in place by crowns anchored on teeth on either side (often called abutment teeth). This is generally considered to be the most secure kind of dental bridge. Downsides include the need to file abutment teeth to take the crowns, which involves the removal of the enamel from those teeth. This is a permanent step and means that those teeth will always require the protection of a crown.
Cantilever bridges are very similar to traditional dental bridges except that they are only anchored to one abutment tooth. This makes them a good choice where there is only one abutment tooth present, or where the opposite tooth has a condition or issue that would render it unsuitable for such a role. Drawbacks of the cantilever bridge include additional stress and leverage that can be placed on the supporting tooth, which in some cases can cause fractures and crown loosening.
A good choice for those who do not wish to deal with the long term consequences of reshaping surrounding teeth is the Maryland bridge. This involves the use of a pontic that is held in place by other means, including porcelain or metallic frameworks. While this is much quicker and involves less commitment to a particular course of action in comparison to the other two kinds of bridges, the Maryland bridge also offers drawbacks. For one, the framework is held in place with resin attached to the back of the surrounding two teeth. This resin may come loose when subject to force. The framework itself may also cause some discomfort to gums or when eating.
What Should I Expect?
The loss of a tooth or several teeth can have a strong impact on individuals, particularly when located in an especially visible spot. Bridges can be a great way to restore your confidence and your eating and speaking functions. However, each one comes with its own requirements and commitments and you should aim to balance your desire for a fast outcome with the benefits of a long-term strategy. You should spend time with your dentist going through all the available options before making a decision.
A successful dental bridge procedure will offer a number of benefits including the restoration of your smile and the shape of your face as well as the ability to chew and speak as you did before.