Understanding Dental Bridges: The Basics of What They Are and How They Work
Dental bridges are special types of dental restorations that can be used to replace missing teeth when other options aren’t possible. In this article, we will explore the basics of dental bridges and its variations so that you can make an informed decision on whether or not they are right for you.
What is a Dental Bridge?
A dental bridge is a restoration that replaces teeth that have been lost due to tooth decay or trauma. Dental bridges are used to bridge gaps created when the natural teeth are missing from an area of the mouth. There are different types of dental bridges such as fixed & removable, fixed partial & full, and many more. A dental bridge is a great option for patients who have lost one or more teeth due to accidents, illness, or other causes.
A dental bridge is simply a bridge constructed of metal or porcelain that is attached to adjacent teeth.
A bridge can replace several missing teeth at once or it can be used to replace only one tooth. If a patient is missing several teeth and is too old to have a full dental prosthetic constructed, a bridge may be the right choice.
Advantages of Dental Bridges
Compared to regular removable prosthetics, bridges have a number of advantages:
– Better Adhesion: With a dental bridge, the prosthetic attachment is better bonded to the adjacent teeth than with a removable prosthetic. This makes it less likely that the prosthetic would fall out or be removed.
– Longer Life: Dental bridges can last for many years, even decades, due to the improved adhesion and less movement than with removable prosthetics. This makes them an excellent option for patients who don’t want to continually receive new restorations.
– Better Looking: Dental bridges are often more aesthetically pleasing than removable prosthetics.
This is because they are usually made of more durable materials and have a less artificial appearance.
Types of Dental Bridges
- Fixed & removable: A fixed bridge is one that is cemented to the teeth. A removable bridge is an attachment that may be removed and replaced with another attachment. Fixed and removable bridges both have a thin foundation plate that is attached to adjacent teeth.
- Fixed partial & full: A fixed partial bridge has only two segments while a full bridge has three. A partial bridge may be used when only a few teeth are missing. A full bridge may be used when several teeth are missing or if the patient doesn’t like the look of a partial bridge.
- Exposed & concealed: A dental bridge may be either exposed or concealed depending on the patient’s preference.
An exposed bridge is one that is visible when a patient has it in place, while a concealed bridge is not visible if it’s not in place.
What to Expect from a Dental Bridge Treatment?
You have selected a dental bridge as your prosthetic option. Your dentist will perform a consultation and take x-rays of your mouth to evaluate the length and width of your mouth and determine which type of bridge is best for you. You will also discuss the treatment options that are available for your individual needs. During the treatment process, your dentist will likely:
1) Create a prosthetic model of your mouth using CT scans, photographs, and 3D models of your teeth. This will allow the dentist to create a bridge that fits your mouth perfectly and provides you the best possible look and function.
2) Place temporary crowns, bridges, and veneers to allow for the healing process and final outcome.
3) During the treatment, your dentist will likely make adjustments to your bite to ensure the best possible outcome.
4) After the treatment is completed, you will need to continue visiting your dentist to ensure your bridge stays in good condition.
Depending on your needs, you may need to visit the dentist twice a year for routine maintenance.
Some dental bridges require the patient to have a dental crown on certain teeth while others allow for the tooth to remain natural. Your dentist will discuss this with you during the treatment process.
A dental bridge may last between 10 and 20 years.
Limitations of Dental Bridges
While dental bridges have great advantages, they aren’t a perfect solution for all situations. They are particularly limited in areas such as:
– Tooth mobility: A dental bridge isn’t likely to compensate for a tooth that is very mobile or one that is missing a lot of enamel.
The dental bridge is only as strong as the weakest tooth, so a missing tooth will likely lead to its eventual removal.
– Tooth color: Dental bridges usually only match the shade of the natural teeth on either side of the bridge. This can make the bridge look unnatural when it comes to the shade of the tooth.
– Broken or misshapen teeth: If a tooth is missing significant amounts of enamel or is very impacted, it’s unlikely that a dental bridge would be able to provide a satisfactory outcome.
Dental bridges are often a great option for people who have lost teeth due to accidents, illness, or other causes. They can provide a convenient, long-lasting solution to replace missing teeth. Like any form of restoration, dental bridges have limitations, and they aren’t appropriate for all situations.
If you are interested in dental bridges, you should learn as much as you can about them so that you can make an informed decision as to whether they are right for you.