Most people get their natural teeth at a very young age. They expect those teeth to last for the rest of their life. Unfortunately, this does not always happen. Teeth can become broken or chipped, they can be lost completely or they can become diseased and need to be pulled. When a person loses an adult tooth, they are left with a gap in their mouth. That gap may cause different problems for a person. They may not like the way it looks and it may make it more difficult to do their normal routine. It is something that can and should be addressed. One of the ways to address the gaps in the mouth is with the help of dental bridges.
Dental bridges are made up of two or more dental crowns or dental implants attached to an appliance that bridges the gap between the teeth. The crowns on the two sides of the gap anchor a false tooth or teeth in between. This restores the appearance of a full set of teeth.
Types of Dental Bridges
Most dentists use one of three types of bridges:
- Traditional Dental Bridges – Typically made of porcelain or ceramic, these bridges use crowns on either side of the false tooth, or Pontic, to cover the gap. These are the most common types of bridges.
- Cantilever Dental Bridges – If a person has only one side that that the bridge can be attached to, this type of bridge can be used. It is attached to only one tooth and the Pontic is attached to the bridge.
- Maryland Bonded Bridges – The bridge is actually bonded to the teeth on either side of it. The bridge has wings on either side that are bonded to the natural teeth. These bridges can also be called resin bonded bridges.
Uses for Bridges
Bridges can be used for a variety of different reasons. They can be used to improve the smile of an individual. They can be used to improve the ability to chew food. They can help with speech. They can improve the shape of the face. A bridge can also help other teeth from moving because there is extra room. They are a restorative procedure that can give a person back the teeth that they want.
Dental Bridge Procedure
It usually requires at least two visits to get a dental bridge. At the first visit, an examination is done to assess the overall health of the teeth. Once that is done, the teeth are prepared for the bridge. This can involve shaping of the teeth that neighbor the gap. That is often done under local anesthesia. The teeth need to be prepared for a crown to be placed over them that will serve as the end of the bridge. Once the teeth are properly shaped, the dentist is ready to take an impression of the teeth. After the impression is made, a temporary crown will be put into place.
The impression will be sent to a dental laboratory. They will use the impression to make a permanent bridge that is custom fit for the patient. When the permanent bridge is ready, a second visit will be needed. During the second visit, the temporary crown will be removed and the permanent crown will be cemented into place. It is possible that the bridge will only be cemented temporarily to make sure it will function properly. In that case, a final visit will be needed to permanently cement the bridge in place.