Cosmetic Dental Bridges
A dental bridge can provide a functional and cosmetic solution if one is missing one or more teeth. A traditional bridge fills a gap with an artificial tooth, usually made of porcelain and matched to the natural tooth color. Crowns on either side of the gap serve to anchor the artificial tooth in place.
What Are The Benefits Of A Dental Bridge?
A missing tooth or gap may not seem like a problem, especially if the gap isn’t visible when one smile. However, leaving a gap untreated can lead to more serious issues, including shifting teeth and facial collapse.
Bridges Prevent Shifting Teeth
A dental bridge helps to hold the teeth in place. The loss of a tooth creates a gap that allows room for other teeth to move around. When teeth start to shift, the top teeth may move out of alignment with the lower teeth, changing the points of closure. When teeth move around, one may experience jaw pain and more stress on the teeth, which can lead to cracks in the tooth enamel.
Shifting teeth can also result in cosmetic problems. When a gap appears, surrounding teeth may not only move into the gap, but they may also twist and turn. In addition, a tooth may move up or down to fill a gap. For example, a gap in the lower jaw may invite an upper tooth to grow downward, ruining the tooth line.
Bridges Prevent Facial Collapse
Another problem a bridge can prevent is facial collapse. Teeth help to support the bone structure of the face, keeping the jaw and lips in place. When a person loses a number of teeth, they can experience changes in their appearance over time, such as sunken cheeks, compressed lips, and a jutting chin. A dental bridge can prevent or correct these unnecessary changes.
What Are The Different Types Of Bridges?
If one is considering a tooth bridge, one must have several options to choose from. The dentist will help to determine the best solution for the particular needs. The following are the four main types of bridges.
Traditional Or Cantilever Bridge
A traditional bridge fills a gap with an artificial tooth or teeth attached to crowns on either side. The crowns bond to the natural teeth to hold the bridge in place. A bridge can contain anywhere from one to four false teeth. A cantilever bridge is similar to a traditional bridge, but it only uses one crown. This type of bridge is ideal for a space at the back of the mouth, where there are no teeth on the far side of the gap.
A Maryland bridge uses metal wings on either side of an artificial tooth rather than crowns. The wings bond to the backs of the teeth on either side of the gap. The advantage of this type of bridge is that it preserves the natural teeth, whereas crowns require removal of the enamel. The dentist might recommend a Maryland bridge if one is replacing front teeth with a bridge.
An Implant-Supported Bridge
An implant-supported bridge consists of one or more artificial teeth attached to dental implants on either side of a gap. Implants are metal posts that are embedded in the jawbone and capped with a crown. Though more costly than a traditional bridge, an implant-supported bridge helps to preserve the jaw and prevent atrophy. Another benefit of implants is that they are a longer-lasting solution than other types of bridges.
Who Is A Good Candidate For A Dental Bridge?
A bridge is a very common dental treatment, but it’s not the best choice for every patient. To be a good candidate for a dental bridge, one needs to have strong, healthy teeth and gums in the area around the gap. If a tooth on either side of the gap has had a root canal, for example, it might not be strong enough to support the crown. Gum disease can cause the gums to recede and change the way a bridge fits. For an implant-supported bridge, one needs sufficient jawbone mass.
What Is The Process Of Getting A Bridge?
If one is getting a traditional or cantilever bridge, the process will typically take two appointments. During the first visit, the dentist will prepare the teeth on either side of the gap by removing a portion of the enamel of each tooth. Then the dentist will make an impression or scan the teeth in order to make a bridge that will fit the space. Finally, one’ll get a temporary dental bridge to wear until the permanent bridge is ready.
At the second appointment, the dentist will remove the temporary bridge and install the permanent one by cementing the crowns onto the teeth that abut the gap. The dentist may use a temporary adhesive so that one can try out the bridge for a couple of weeks and make sure it fits properly.
How To Care For A Bridge?
It’s easy to care for any type of bridge. In general, dentists recommend eating a normal diet but avoiding sticky foods like toffee or caramel. It’s important to practice good oral hygiene by brushing and flossing at least twice a day. One may need to use a floss threader so that one can floss under and around a dental bridge.
How Much Does a Bridge Cost?
Several factors contribute to the cost of dental bridges, including the type of bridge, the material used to make the crowns and artificial teeth, the location of the dentist, and the amount of dental insurance coverage a patient has. Implant-supported bridges are more costly than traditional bridges, but they are also a longer-lasting solution. If one is considering a bridge, talk to the dentist about the tooth bridge cost and learn more about the options.
A dental bridge is a safe and effective solution for missing teeth. One can expect a traditional or Maryland bridge to last around ten to fifteen years with proper care, but chances are one will need a dental bridge replacement eventually. An implant-supported bridge is a permanent solution.