What is a Dental Bridge?
Dental bridges consist of fixed prosthetic devices that are used to replace missing teeth.
Missing teeth can have many negative effects on the appearance of your smile, but it can also cause functionality issues. Some of these issues are changes in the bite, temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD), tooth decay, periodontal disease and shifting of the teeth. Dental bridges are prosthetic devices that have an aesthetic function but they also avoid the development of any of the named issues.
Dental bridges can be supported by natural teeth, implants or a combination of both.
Type of Dental Bridges
- Traditional dental bridges: these type of bridges are the most frequently used. They are fake teeth that are held in place by dental crowns and are cemented onto the teeth that are surrounding the missing tooth. Traditional dental bridges are used when there are natural teeth on both sides of the empty space created by the missing tooth.
- Maryland Bridges: Maryland bridges consist of a pontic that is supported by a metal or porcelain framework which is attached to the backs of the two teeth that surround the missing tooth.
- Cantilever bridges: this type of bridges is very similar to traditional bridges but in only needs to be supported by one tooth surrounding the space created by the missing tooth. This treatment is similar to traditional bridges because in both cases the dentist needs to remove the enamel of the teeth surrounding the gap produced by the missing tooth.
- Implant-supported bridges: in this case the bridges are supported by dental implants and can be used when there’s one or more missing tooth. This type of dental bridge is of the ones the most secure and comfortable type.
Dental Bridges Process
Before performing a dental bridge procedure your dentist must do a checkup to determine if you are a candidate for this procedure. Once your dentist determines that a Dental Bridge is the best procedure for you, he will apply local anesthesia to numb the teeth surrounding the gap produced by the missing tooth and that will be used as the bridge support. It’s necessary to numb the teeth surrounding the gap that will be restored because they must be removed from its enamel to work a bridge support.
Then, the dentist will take an impression of the teeth surrounding the gap with a putty-like material used to modeled your teeth. Based on this model of your teeth your bridge will be fabricated in a laboratory to fit your natural teeth properly. After this, your dentist will apply you a temporary restoration to keep your teeth and gum protected while your permanent bridge is ready.
Once your permanent bridge is ready you must go back to your dentist office, so he or she can finish the procedure and have your bridge fitted.
Recovery and Care
After getting your bridge fitted you must:
- Avoid chewing on the side where the treatment was done, especially hard foods.
- Avoid the consumption of sticky foods.
- Brush and floss your teeth gently and with much care but regularly.