Dental bridge treatment is a commonly done procedure for the replacement of one or multiple missing teeth. Dental bridges usually require the presence of teeth on adjacent sides of the missing tooth in order to be an effective tooth replacement option. The entire restoration consists of two parts – artificial teeth that take the place of the missing teeth in the mouth, known as a pontic; and dental crowns placed on the abutment teeth on each side that hold the artificial teeth in place.
Traditionally, dental bridges were constructed out of metals like gold and silver. These have since become obsolete; bridges are now primarily made of a metal alloy framework that is coated with tooth-colored resin-like porcelain, allowing it to blend in with the natural teeth. Newer types of dental bridges may be made completely from porcelain or ceramic, which are considerably more expensive than the ones made with a metal alloy.
Types of Dental Bridges
The crown-supported dental bridges are the most commonly used type incorporated in routine practice. They require the presence of healthy teeth on both sides of the missing teeth, which hold the artificial tooth in place and lend support to the entire restoration. The healthy teeth are ground down to make space for the dental crowns to be cemented on them, which are attached to the pontic in the center.
A bonded dental bridge may be advised as a type of conservative approach to the more conventional crown-supported bridge. Instead of dental crowns, bonded bridges have little wings attached to the pontic that can be bonded onto the backs of adjacent teeth. This type of dental bridge preserves more tooth structure in the abutments.
In cases where multiple teeth are missing, the dentist might even recommend an implant-supported dental bridge instead of a tooth-supported one.
Can Dental Bridges Be Used for Front Teeth?
When dental bridges are advised in patients with missing front teeth, they are designed slightly different from conventional dental bridges. The replacement of a single missing tooth requires support from one adjacent abutment tooth on each side. When used for replacing missing front teeth, two abutment teeth are used for support on each side. This is because front teeth withstand higher biting forces compared to other teeth in the mouth.
How Long Does a Dental Bridge Last?
Dental bridges can last for years at a stretch with the right care and maintenance. Proper oral hygiene measures should be practiced to ensure the prevention of plaque accumulation around the tooth-crown interface. In the absence of such measures, bacteria from plaque can seep underneath the dental crown and cause decay of the abutment teeth. Some of the most common causes of dental bridge failure is due to decay or fracture of the abutment teeth.
Advantages of Dental Bridges
Dental bridges effectively restore your smile by offering aesthetic compensation for the loss of your teeth. The tooth-colored appearance of dental bridges is designed to closely match your natural teeth shade and improve your self-confidence. Bridges also restore functionality to allow the patient to eat and speak like they would with their natural teeth. Loss of teeth can lead to the tipping of adjacent teeth into the gaps, which can cause problems with the normal occlusion or bite. By filling out the gaps left behind by missing teeth, dental bridges help maintain the occlusion.
While dental implants are usually considered the best tooth replacement option, not every patient is a suitable candidate for implants. This can include financial as well as health constraints. Dental bridges remain fixed and do not pose the risk of slipping out of the mouth, making them a type of permanent dental restoration. This quality makes dental bridges a great alternative for those who can’t receive dental implants.