When one or more teeth are missing, dental bridges are used to link the gaps between them. A dental bridge is built up of two or more crowns on any side of the gap with a false teeth in between. These unreal teeth are called pontics and can consist of gold, alloys, porcelain or a combination of these materials. Dental bridges rely on implants or natural teeth for their support.
Dental bridges restore the ability to properly speak and chew, bring back the natural smile, distribute the forces in your bite the right way by replacing missing teeth, preserve the shape of your face, and prevent remaining teeth from moving out of position.
Types of dental bridges
- Cantilever bridges: These bridges are used when there are adjacent teeth only on one side of the missing tooth or teeth. This is not very common and the procedure is not advisable for back teeth as it can cause too much pressure on neighboring teeth and ruin them.
- Traditional bridges: This involves creating a crown for the implant or tooth on either side of the missing tooth, with a false tooth (pontic) in between. Traditional bridges are the most typical type that are either made of porcelain fused to metal (PFM) or ceramics.
- Resin bonded bridge: These bridges contain porcelain fused metal or porcelain or plastic teeth held by supported by porcelain or metal frame work. Porcelain or metal wings are bonded on each side of the existing teeth.
Process of getting a dental bridge
- During the first visit for getting a dental bridge, the abutment teeth are prepared.
- Preparation of abutment teeth deals with re-contouring the teeth by cutting a portion of enamel to allow space for a crown to be fixed over them.
- This step is followed by making impressions of teeth, which serve as a model from which the bridge, crowns and pontic will be made by the dental lab.
- Dentist will make a temporary bridge to protect the exposed gums and teeth while the bridge is being made.
- During the second visit, temporary bridge will be removed and the new metal or porcelain bridge will be adjusted and finally checked to achieve a proper fit.
- Multiple visits may be needed to check the fit of the bite and metal frame work.
Caring for the dental bridges
- It is important to keep the other teeth strong and healthy as the success of it depends on the foundation offered by the surrounding teeth.
- Regular flossing and brushing twice a day helps in preventing gum disease and tooth decay that can lead to tooth loss.
- Keeping a regular cleaning schedule with dentists will help to detect problems at earlier stage so that prolonged procedures can be avoided. To restore healthy teeth, having a balanced diet with proper nutrition is also important.