DENTAL BRIDGES: A GUIDE TO RESTORING YOUR SMILE
A dental bridge is a custom-made appliance that is used to replace one or more missing teeth. The bridge is anchored to the remaining healthy teeth on either side of the gap, and the artificial tooth, or pontic, is suspended between them. Dental bridges not only improve the appearance of your smile, but they also help restore proper bite and speech that prevent the shifting of the remaining teeth. The common types of dental bridges are traditional bridges, Cantilever bridges, Maryland bridges, and implant-supported bridges. If you're missing one or more teeth and want to restore your smile, a dental bridge may be the solution you're looking for. Contact Woodbourne Dental to help you achieve and maintain optimal oral health and a stunning smile.
WHAT ARE DENTAL BRIDGES?
Dental bridges are prosthetic devices that are used to replace one or more missing teeth and are custom-made to fit your mouth and are anchored in place by using the surrounding natural teeth or dental implants. A dental bridge typically consists of two dental crowns, one on each of the surrounding healthy teeth, with a false tooth (or pontic) in between. The crowns are placed over the healthy teeth and serve as anchors for the bridge, while the pontic fills the gap left by the missing tooth.
WHAT TO EXPECT FOR A DENTAL BRIDGE PROCEDURE
The process of getting a dental bridge typically requires two or more visits to the dentist. During the first visit, the dentist will prepare the surrounding teeth for the crowns and take an impression of your teeth, which is then sent to a dental lab, where a dental technician creates the custom-made bridge. During the second visit, the dentist will place the bridge and adjust it for a comfortable and proper fit. Dental bridges are a popular option for replacing missing teeth because they are a non-invasive, affordable, and natural-looking solution. They help to restore the appearance of your smile, improve your bite and chewing ability, and prevent surrounding teeth from shifting out of place.
THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF DENTAL BRIDGES
There are several types of dental bridges available, and the type you choose will depend on your specific needs and the health of your remaining teeth. Some of the most common types are:
Traditional Bridges: This type of bridge is made up of an artificial tooth suspended between two dental crowns that are attached to the healthy adjacent teeth. Traditional bridges are the most common type of bridge and great for patients with healthy adjacent teeth. The disadvantage is that while preparing your adjacent teeth the dentist must remove the enamel and make the teeth smaller to make enough room for the crown that will be cemented on top. The enamel does not grow back so these teeth will always need protection as well.
Cantilever Bridges: This type of bridge is similar to a traditional bridge, but it is anchored to just one healthy adjacent tooth rather than two. This type of bridge is often used when there is only one healthy adjacent tooth available to support the bridge. The adjacent tooth needs to be prepared to support the bridge by removing its enamel. Because this bridge is only supported on one side, they may act as a lever in some cases, which may lead to complications like fractured teeth or loosened crowns.
Maryland Bridges: This type of bridge is also known as a resin-bonded bridge. Unlike traditional and cantilever bridges, Maryland bridges do not require the preparation of the healthy adjacent teeth. Instead, they are bonded to the back of the adjacent teeth with a metal framework and resin. The strength of the bridge is limited by the strength of the resin that holds it in place. It may not stay in place in areas of the mouth that experiences a lot of biting force. The metal framework can also get in the way of your gums or your bite.
Implant-supported Bridges: This type of bridge uses dental implants to support the artificial teeth. Implant-supported bridges are a great option for patients who are missing several teeth and want a permanent solution.
THE BENEFITS OF DENTAL BRIDGES
In addition to restoring your smile and improving your oral health, dental bridges offer several other benefits. These benefits include:
Improved bite: A missing tooth can affect your bite, causing discomfort and even pain. Dental bridges help restore proper bite and reducing discomfort.
Improved speech: Missing teeth can also affect speech, causing you to slur or mumble. Dental bridges help restore proper speech, allowing you to speak clearly and confidently.
Prevent shifting of remaining teeth: When a tooth is missing, the remaining teeth can shift and become misaligned. Dental bridges help prevent this shifting, preserving the health of your remaining teeth.
Improved appearance: Missing teeth can detract from the appearance of your smile, but dental bridges help restore a full, healthy smile.
HOW TO CARE FOR YOUR DENTAL BRIDGE
With a bridge it is important to prevent tooth decay and gum disease that can lead to tooth loss. Regular dental exams and cleanings, along with good oral hygiene practices, will help ensure the longevity of your dental bridge. For proper tooth and gum care, you should:
Brush your teeth twice a day, using good brushing technique, and floss daily;
Regularly visit your dental hygienist to get professional teeth cleanings;
Eat a balanced diet, and avoid too many sweets and candies.