A missing tooth or teeth can keep you from smiling in front of others. It affects your self-esteem and confidence. The good news is there are solutions to fix this issue whether you lost a tooth due to a medical condition, natural causes or injury. A dentist can recommend dental bridges to replace your missing tooth or teeth. But what exactly are they and how do they work?
What are dental bridges?
Four main types of dental bridges are:
Traditional bridge: This is the most common dental bridge that includes one or more fake teeth held in place by crowns cemented to surrounding teeth. Dental bridges can be ceramic, metal, or porcelain combined with metal, appearing as gold, alloys, or a combination of the materials.
Cantilever bridge: This type of bridge is only supported on one side by a crown. You only need an abutment tooth to connect to the pontic, making a cantilever bridge to replace the missing tooth more ideal when you have one tooth next to the gap.
Maryland bridges: These rely on a conservative approach where a metal or porcelain framework is used to hold the tooth in place. These bridges are, however, not as strong as the cemented ones. As a result, they are not recommended on teeth with a lot of biting force. The option, also known as a resin-bonded bridge, is mainly advisable as a front dental bridge.
Implant-supported bridge: This is used when more than one tooth is missing. Implants are used to hold the dental bridges in place. A dentist can place one implant for every missing tooth, with an installation process similar to the traditional bridge method.
Who Would Benefit From Dental Bridges?
Any person with a missing tooth or teeth can be eligible for dental bridges. It does not matter where the gap is – you can get a bridge to replace the missing tooth anywhere. Before administering the procedure, the dentist will determine the cause of the missing tooth, whether genetic condition, gum disease, decay, or injury. Consult your dentist if you need a dental bridge on the front teeth or back.
Remember, for a bridge to replace a missing tooth successfully, the adjacent teeth to the gap must be healthy.
Do You Need Dental Bridges?
Tooth bridge treatment contributes significantly to mouth functionality and oral health. The dental formula works together, especially for teeth. The neighbouring teeth can move sideways to fill the space when there is a gap. The jaw can also adjust up or down towards the expanse, interfering with your facial features.
Without bridges for teeth, you could end up with chewing or biting challenges, pain from additional strain on the teeth, or low self-esteem from self-consciousness.
Pros and Cons of Dental Bridges
What are the Advantages of Dental Bridges?
Are dental bridges good? Dental bridges have numerous benefits making them popular remedial options for such dental procedures. They fill existing spaces left by missing teeth and provide enhanced aesthetic appeal.
So, what are the benefits of a dental bridge?
Speaking and chewing restoration
Chewing and biting are the primary functions of the teeth. Existing gaps compromise that performance ability, reducing the effectiveness of food mastication. Bridges prevent that, allowing you to continue chewing your food correctly.
Dental bridges also help with speech difficulties that are common with missing teeth. You do not have to worry about tongue misplacement, which causes one to produce different sounds whenever talking.
Losing teeth can cause confidence issues, which is understandable. Bridges can replace the original teeth to give the same aesthetic appeal you had before. Different materials are available for making bridges, but you can choose one that closely matches your natural teeth if you do not want it to be conspicuous. It is one of the best ways of boosting confidence and comfort.
The mouth structure depends on the presence of all your teeth. The compact nature of teeth keeps them straight, which is why any significant space causes the teeth to shift. The movement is always gradual, eventually causing various challenges, including biting difficulties.
A bridge fills the space, leaving no room for movement. Teeth on either side will remain straight, eliminating possibilities of biting or chewing difficulties or crookedness. That also reduces the chances of bone degradation in the jaws, ensuring you maintain your facial features and structure.
Most people review dental bridges positively because of how they feel in the mouth. You may not notice the difference between artificial teeth and natural ones. The adjustment period after the procedure is shorter – you need time to get used to them in the beginning, then it becomes part of the dental structure.
Maintenance is simpler. You do not remove the bridges for cleaning the way you would with dentures. You can use the same oral hygiene practices you use with natural teeth.
So, is getting a dental bridge worth it? All the above benefits prove it is worthwhile.
What are the Disadvantages of Dental Bridges?
Despite the many benefits, dental bridge problems also exist.
Damage to the adjacent teeth
Dental bridges can only work successfully if the teeth on either side of the gap are healthy. The supportive teeth, or abutment, become vulnerable to damage over time as they continue to hold the pontic in place. Problems are more likely to arise if the bridges do not fit perfectly. Plaque could form underneath the crowns, creating a thriving environment for bacteria that ends up causing decay. There have also been cases where the teeth structure changes after dental bridge installations.
Insufficient support when using the bridge to replace a missing tooth can cause collapse. If the abutment teeth are not sturdy enough to provide the level of support the crown needs, the bridge can collapse and create many other problems. The situation can worsen if the new issues are not solved swiftly. The worst-case scenario may involve changing the abutment teeth with crowns.
How Does a Dental Bridge Work and What is the Procedure for Getting Dental Bridges?
Understanding what happens during a dental bridge procedure can give you the peace of mind you need beforehand. You will need two appointments to complete the process. We provide dental procedure step by step below, but you can discuss more with your dentist before the treatment day.
First, the dentist will prepare the abutment teeth by recontouring them. The reshaping is necessary for perfect crown fitting. Removing a portion of the enamel allows proper placement of the crown over them.
The second step involves making impressions that will serve as a guideline when designing the crowns. The pontic, bridge and crowns will be made in a lab using the dimensions from the digital scan or the mould. The dental bridge work at this point is painless, and you do not need to worry about the exposed sections of your mouth. The dentist will make a temporary bridge to protect the teeth where they removed the enamel while the permanent one is still processing in the lab.
Step three is finalizing the bridge placement process, which takes place during the second visit. The dentist will replace the temporary bridge with the permanent one. Is it painful to get a dental bridge at this stage? Your dental care provider will ensure you are comfortable throughout the process. They will also ascertain that the bridge fits perfectly and may make adjustments if necessary.
For more on what are dental bridges and how do they work? Smiles on Queen has the answers.
Are There Any Risks or Complications During or After the Dental Bridges Procedure?
Although rare, complications can arise if the adjacent teeth decay or the bridge does not cement properly. However, the bridge can remain in perfect condition, without any unpleasant effects, for many years if you care for it properly. Consult your dentist about proper care routines for dental bridges before and after getting them.
Please note that the condition of the surrounding teeth is critical – the dental care provider can reattach bridges that loosen if the teeth are intact. They only need new cement.
Dental Bridges – FAQs
How Long Do Dental Bridges Last?
Your oral hygiene practices are fundamental in how long dental brides last. The bridges can last ten to fifteen years with a proper care routine. The duration can increase if you include professional cleaning and visits in your dental care routine. Some have lasted for five to seven years, making such durability challenging to predict.
Will it Be Hard to Eat with Dental Bridges?
The experience differs for every person, but most people do not find difficulties. You will likely experience the opposite effect because bridges fill gaps that make biting and chewing difficult. If you feel uncomfortable after the procedure, take soft foods for the first few days. You can progress to solid foods by cutting them into smaller pieces until you get used to the bridges.
Can I Make My Dental Bridges Last Longer?
The good news is that extending the lifespan of dental bridges is possible through good oral hygiene practices. The trick to utmost effectiveness is in maintaining consistency. For example, you must brush and floss daily or follow the directives of your dental care provider.
You must also keep up with dental appointments without fail or procrastination. Your dentist will recommend visitation timelines for cleaning and checkups, which tends to be after every six months or twice every year.
Will the Dental Bridges Change How You Speak?
Not really, but any changes that happen will be positive. One of the downsides of missing teeth, especially in front, is speech difficulty – you may not pronounce some words correctly. A dental bridge on the front teeth restores your ability to speak clearly.
How Should You Care For Your Dental Bridges?
Getting dental bridges may provide the relief you need, but that does not mean you should neglect them. The long-term success of the procedure relies on how well you care for the artificial teeth, the same as the strength and health of the natural teeth nearby. Excellent oral care also prevents decay and gum disease that can cause more pain and complications. The following tips will be helpful:
Diet changes – Include lots of vegetables, fruits, and fibre in your diet. Limit chewy foods that can damage the bridge.
Dental visits – Home cleaning is not enough. See a dentist for assessments and professional cleaning. They will identify potential problems early to increase the chances of success.
Brushing daily – You may need to tweak your brushing technique to ensure plaque does not build up on the bridges. Your dentist can show you how. Your flossing method may also change. You may need a threader to reach between the bridge and gum instead of the regular floss.
What is the Cost of Dental Bridges?
Dental bridges do not have a fixed price – the costs vary according to the type and location. Dental rates in every region differ, which is a determining factor in the amount you pay. Dental insurance coverage can cover half of the cost. The exact amount from the insurance also depends on your coverage plan. Get in touch for a price estimate.