When teeth are missing it can cause difficulties chewing certain foods and can affect pronunciation. A dental bridge can help.
Bridges are anchored to the teeth either side, known as abutment teeth. They are often made of porcelain fused to metal as this provides strength. They also look very natural.
As the name implies, dental bridges fill gaps in a patient’s teeth that are created by missing teeth. They are a form of prosthodontics, which is the branch of dentistry that deals with tooth restoration and replacement.
While a bridge doesn’t replace a missing tooth, it does help patients look better by closing the gap in their smile. Additionally, it helps them eat more easily and pronounce words correctly by keeping the remaining teeth from shifting in the mouth.
There are a few different types of bridges that we use at Washington State Prothodontics and Dental Implant Center to meet our patients’ needs. The most common type is known as a traditional bridge. This type includes an artificial tooth, called a pontic, that is supported by the natural teeth on either side of the gap. The natural teeth that are used to support the pontic are called abutment teeth.
During the first visit, we prepare the abutment teeth by recontouring them. This involves removing some of the enamel on each tooth. It’s important that the preparation is precise and parallel because if it isn’t, then the bridge might not fit properly. After the abutment teeth are ready, we attach a crown to each of them. The crowns are then attached to the bridge’s pontic using a connecting piece called a wing.
Dental bridges help to restore normal function like chewing and speaking. They also prevent the surrounding teeth from shifting which causes problems in the bite and helps to distribute the forces of biting properly across the jaw. Dental bridges also help to maintain the structures of the face and reduce the risk of bone loss.
In the case of traditional fixed bridges, after the injection of local anesthetic the tooth/s that function as abutments are prepared by resizing and reshaping to accommodate the crowns. Since the abutment teeth will be used to support the pontic (false) tooth, it is imperative that these teeth are healthy and strong.
If these teeth are weakened, it can cause further problems in the mouth. It can affect the way the patient pronounces certain words and can lead to other issues like a lisp. In addition, it will cause the other teeth in the area to shift and can cause other dental problems as well.
Dental bridges are a low-risk procedure and can be made of a variety of materials. Your dentist will work with you to determine the best material for your needs and aesthetic preferences. Most patients can get their dental bridges with minimal discomfort and no serious side effects. Once they are in place, they should be treated like natural teeth and should be brushed and flossed on a regular basis to keep them clean and free of bacteria.
The lifespan of Dental bridges varies and will depend on a variety of factors including diet, oral hygiene, and how much stress is placed on the bridge and adjacent teeth. However, most dental professionals agree that if a patient takes care of their teeth and practices good oral hygiene, they should be able to get at least 10 years out of them.
If you choose to have a bridge fitted, the dentist will first prepare the teeth either side of the gap (called abutment teeth) and take impressions. These will then be sent to a lab, where the abutment crowns and pontic (the false tooth) will be fabricated. The bridge will be bonded to these abutment teeth using cement.
Once the abutment teeth have been prepared the dentist will place the pontic in its position and test it for stability. If everything is satisfactory the dentist will proceed to the next step in the process.
During this stage the dentist will use resin to reestablish a correct spatial relationship between the two parts of the bridge. This will also make the bridge easier to clean. Routine dental visits will also ensure that any problems with the bridge or the abutment teeth can be identified and treated quickly, which can help extend the lifespan of a bridge. The abutment teeth may need root canal treatment, or even removal in severe cases of damage.
When missing teeth are replaced with dental bridges, the surrounding natural teeth are left undamaged. This helps to maintain the shape of the face and prevents other healthy teeth from drifting into the empty space.
Dental bridges can improve a patient’s quality of life by restoring their ability to chew properly and speak clearly. This allows them to enjoy more nutritious foods and can help alleviate problems with speech, such as lisps.
A bridge can also restore the appearance of a smile, which may boost self-esteem and confidence in patients. Dental bridges are typically made from porcelain, a material that can be matched to the colour of the adjacent teeth for a seamless appearance.
It’s important to note that bridges are fixed prosthetics, meaning that they can’t be removed throughout the day or overnight, like dentures can. This can be a concern for some patients, but it’s worth considering the long-term benefits of a fixed dental bridge.
For the best results, dental bridges must be cared for and cleaned regularly. Patients should brush twice daily with a soft-bristled toothbrush and floss to remove plaque deposits on the surface of the bridge and the surrounding natural teeth. Regular professional cleanings with a dental hygienist can also help to improve the health of these natural teeth and promote longevity for the bridge.