What is a Dental Bridge?
People lose teeth for several reasons — decay, disease, or as the result of an accident. To replace a tooth, a dentist can close, or bridge, the gap. A dental bridge consists of a false tooth (also called a pontic), that is held in place by the teeth on either side of the gap (these teeth are called the abutment teeth).
Why Do I Need a Dental Bridge?
Some people wonder why they would fill the spot where a tooth once lived and might avoid it for monetary reasons or because it doesn’t seem to bother them. But over time, the consequences, and costs, from a lost tooth can add up.
A Dental Bridge Can Help Overcome The Following:
- Restore the ability to chew (and digest food) properly, and redistributing the force more equally when a person chews
- Prevents wear and tear from uneven chewing
- Restore a person’s smile and to maintain the shape of the face
- Restore speech and annunciation
- Prevent teeth from shifting and moving around the gums, which might require braces later
Types of Dental Bridges
There are four main types of dental bridges, and the one your dentist chooses will depend on your specific situation.
1. Traditional Bridge
These are the most common type of bridge, consisting of the necessary number of pontics. These are held in place by dental crowns (also called abutments), which are cemented onto the teeth next to the one(s) missing.
Traditional bridges are great when there are natural teeth on either side of the ones that are missing. However, there is a downside and that is the adjacent teeth will need to have the enamel removed from them in order for the crown to fit. Enamel doesn’t grow back so these teeth will always need to be protected by a crown.
2. Cantilever Bridge
Similar to a traditional bridge, except that the pontic in the cantilever bridge is only supported by an abutment on one side, instead of both. This is the option to go with if, for example, the missing tooth is at the very back of the mouth with only one natural tooth beside it.
Again, the tooth next door will have to undergo enamel removal and of course, they are not quite as strong as a traditional crown. Nonetheless, they might be the best option available.
3. Maryland Bridge
A Maryland bridge is an alternative to traditional bridges, in that it is used when there are teeth on either side of the gap. In this case, the pontic is held in place by a framework made of metal or porcelain and bonded to the back of the neighbouring teeth. Since there are no bridges involved, the adjacent teeth don’t need to be filed.
While this is a benefit of this type of bridge, they are only as strong as the resin that holds it in place. Therefore, they may not be suitable for molars, which undergo a lot of force from biting and chewing.
4. Implant-Supported Bridge
This type of bridge is great for when there is more than one tooth missing. These bridges are supported by dental implants rather than by crowns or frameworks.
Usually, one implant is placed in the mouth for every missing tooth, which together holds the bridge in place. One drawback of an implant-supported bridge is that it can take some time to complete since two surgeries are needed, which can also take a toll on a person.
What is the Process of Getting a Bridge?
There are a few steps in the process of getting a bridge.
1.The patient will receive an assessment, which may include x-rays to get a clear picture of the situation.
2. The dentist will decide which plan to recommend and then prepare to move forward.
3. The next appointment will be to prepare the adjacent teeth. For some types of bridges, this will mean shaving down the enamel and shaping the teeth so that the bridge will fit. Often a mould will be taken in order to create the permanent bridge and a temporary bridge will be installed in order to protect the neighbouring teeth in the meantime.
4. When the permanent bridge is ready to go, the patient will come in to have the bridge placed onto the teeth.
5. A follow-up appointment will ensure that the bridge is comfortable and performing optimally.
Advantages and Benefits of a Dental Bridge
Bridges are used very often to restore teeth and have a long history of customer satisfaction. Some of the positive aspects of having teeth restored are mentioned above, including restoring the ability to chew properly, restoring a person’s smile, and maintaining oral health.
A full set of teeth ensures that wear and tear are more evenly distributed and that jaw, gum and tongue health are also optimized. Gaps in the teeth can also lead to decay and disease, which can have serious health and financial costs down the road.
In conclusion, losing teeth happens to many people, and fixing them with a dental bridge can have long-lasting benefits. There are several options to choose from and visiting your dentist is the first step to restoring optimal dental health.
Semiahmoo Dental Centre has been providing quality Bridge Treatments to many patients for many years by replacing some teeth with a fixed partial denture also known as a fixed bridge.
Bridgework is often the treatment of choice over dental implants and certainly most cost-effective. There are several types of bridges, and we will be happy to discuss your best option for your particular situation. With proper maintenance, a bridge should last many years before it may require adjustments or replacement.
Here are some of the reasons why you may want a bridge:
- To replace missing teeth.
- To prevent surrounding teeth to move out of normal position.
- To enjoy chewing and speaking correctly.
- To maintain your facial shape.
Request More Information About Bridges
If you have any questions about having a Fixed Bridge, or you would like more information about all our other dental services, please call us at 604-536-6711 today. We would love to by your White Rock/South Surrey Dental Team.
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