Many people might not consider missing tooth to be a serious problem. But apart from affecting your appearance it can also affect the functionality of your smile. It can cause difficulty in chewing, temperomandibular joint disorder (TMJ), problems while speaking, drifting of adjacent teeth to the gap created by missing teeth and an increased risk of tooth decay.
Dental bridges are used to replace two or more missing teeth. It is made of a series of crowns that are mounted on adjacent natural teeth or implants called abutments that act as anchor and false teeth is placed in between. The false tooth/teeth are known as pontics and can be made of a variety of materials like gold, porcelain, alloys or a combination of these. Based on the location, cost, aesthetic considerations and functionality your dentist would recommend the most suited type of material for the bridge.
Benefits of Dental Bridges
- Smile Restoration
- Restoration of Speaking and Chewing Abilities
- Improves facial appearance
- Prevents drifting of adjacent teeth
Types of Bridges
Bridges can be of the following three types
- Traditional bridges: They are the most common type of bridges and have crown on the adjacent tooth or implant with a false tooth in between. They are made of ceramics or porcelain fused to metal.
- Cantilever bridges: They are not as common and have adjacent teeth only on one side of the missing tooth/teeth.
- Maryland bonded bridges: made of porcelain, plastic teeth and gums that are supported by metal framework. They have metal wings that are bonded to existing teeth. It is also known as resin bonded bridge or Maryland bridge.
Once you and your dentist have decided that dental bridges are the best option for replacing your missing teeth, then you would be provided with options to choose the material for the bridge. The choice essentially depends on the location where it is to be placed, the cost, the functionality, the aesthetic output etc. The first step involves preparation or recontouring of the abutment to accommodate the crown. The next step involves taking impressions of the teeth that is used in the preparation of the pontic, bridge and crown in the lab. A temporary bridge is placed to avoid exposure of the teeth and gums while your bridge is getting fabricated.
In the next visit, your dentist would remove the temporary bridge and check the fit of the new bridge and adjustments are made if required. The number of visits required to acquire a perfect fit varies from individual to individual.
Once the bridge has been cemented in place, your dentist would provide you with instructions to take care of your bridges. With proper care your bridges may last a lifetime. For this it is essential to practice good oral hygiene. Brushing twice a day and proper intradental cleaning helps keep plaque away and prevents gum disease and decay that may lead to tooth loss. The cost associated with dental bridges varies with country and with the type of material used for bridges. To know more about dental bridges and the associated cost, talk to our dentist who would be pleased to help you.