When you have missing teeth because of infection, decay, or injuries, losing teeth leaves an ungainly gap in your smile. You may think having a dental implant by contacting an oral surgeon is the only method you can bridge the gaps between your teeth. However, if you don’t have sufficient jawbone, you require a bone graft before dental implants are placed in your jawbone. Rather than opt for intensive therapy, why not consider bridging the gap with a dental bridge?
Bridges are permanent restorations to replace one or more missing teeth in your mouth. Bridges mimic the appearance, shape, and functionality of a natural tooth and are custom-designed for every patient.
Porcelain is the material used to fabricate the bridges attached to a metal structure for support. Other varieties available are made from ceramic and other materials that are similar in appearance. Before placing bridges on your teeth, dentists remove some tooth structure from the abutment teeth. The teeth supporting the bridge on both sides of the gap created are known as abutment teeth. Removal of the tooth structure is the same regardless of whether you want bridges for your front or back teeth.
Dentists recommend bridges over implants if you already have dental crowns on the supporting teeth. Bridges are also recommended if you cannot get implants for the reasons described above. Bridges become necessary after tooth loss or extraction because of the following reasons:
Bridges are quicker to place and don’t require invasive surgery unless you prefer implant-supported bridges. The recovery time from the procedure is faster, and bridges are more affordable than dental implants.
Bridges have their downsides because they don’t appear as natural as dental implants and must be replaced every 5 to 10 years. Bridges are prone to fractures and decay and can damage the surrounding natural teeth.
Four types of bridges are available, and the dentist you approach to close the gaps between your smile will recommend an appropriate solution for your needs. The four varieties are traditional bridges, Maryland bridges, cantilever bridges, and implant-supported bridges.
Traditional bridges are the most popular and consist of ceramic or porcelain fused to the metal, having one artificial tooth in between, known as a Pontic, and a dental crown in place on both sides of the gap. When placing traditional bridges, your dentist files down the two adjacent teeth next to the artificial tooth. The filing down ensures appropriate fitting for the two dental crowns. Conventional bridges are durable and last for a long time with proper dental care. Traditional bridges are a suitable solution for restoring posterior teeth like molars and premolars.
You are offered cantilever bridges that are similar to traditional bridges but only require one natural tooth next to the gap created by the missing tooth. Cantilever bridges are appropriate for replacing front teeth but are not durable enough to support back teeth.
Implant-supported bridges are the most durable and require placement of dental implants into your jawbone. This variety is useful if you have at least three missing teeth in a row.
During your first appointment, the Anchorage dentist administers local anesthesia to ensure comfort and relief from pain during the procedure. After that, the dentist shapes and files the abutment teeth. The filing removes all enamel and any additional tooth structure to create sufficient space for the other tooth. Impressions of your teeth are taken and sent to the dental laboratory to fabricate your custom bridge. A temporary bridge is placed on your teeth for protection until the dental laboratory returns the permanent restoration.
A second appointment is necessary for the bridge placement after the dental laboratory returns the permanent restoration. During this time, the dentist removes the temporary bridge, cleans your teeth, and also takes x-rays of the restoration to ensure it fits perfectly. Finally, the bridge and teeth are bonded together using dental cement.
Bridges and dental crown aftercare routine is similar. However, you must be extra careful with your oral hygiene after a permanent placement bridge. The location of the artificial tooth is challenging to clean and can accumulate plaque quickly. However, follow the dentist’s instructions and brush at least twice a day, floss once daily, ensuring you clean beneath the bridge, and visit your dentist regularly for exams and cleanings. You should have your restorations for at least a decade, allowing you to smile without displaying the gaps in your mouth.