What is a Dental Bridge?
Dental bridge mainly bridges the gap which is created by one or more missing teeth and is usually made of two crowns or more on the either side of the gap, these two or more anchoring teeth are called as abutment teeth which is with a false teeth called as pontics. Dental bridges are usually supported by dental implants or natural teeth.
Dental Bridge Treatment for Missing Teeth
The initial step in the dental bridge process is to assess the need for restorative dental treatment for replacing missing teeth, and whether a dental bridge is the best option or not for you. Some of the other available restorative dental treatments which may be a more appropriate option in some cases include dental crowns and dental implants. Prior to permanent fixing of a bridge the dentist will usually examine the area and take X-rays of the jaw to gain a full understanding of the situation and make the best decision which will suit you. It is important to discuss the possible options with the patients, before treatment including the type and design of the bridge, so that they can understand the advantages and disadvantages of each alternative carefully.
You probably require a dental bridge if you have a missing tooth or teeth and have healthy teeth on both sides of the gap left by the missing teeth. To prepare for the dental bridge, the dentist will usually file the two healthy teeth properly on both the side of the missing teeth and then a mold is taken to make your bridge. A temporary bridge is usually given by a dentist till your permanent bridge gets ready and once it is ready then your temporary bridge is taken out. The permanent bridge is placed and cemented to the surrounding teeth.
Your procedure will be done in usually two steps in the first visit for getting a dental bridge, the abutment teeth’s are usually prepared and the preparation mainly involves recontouring of these teeth by taking out a portion of enamel from the teeth to allow some space for the crown which will be placed over them. In order to prepare Abutment teeth for the placement of a dental bridge, it is necessary to shape these teeth for the bridge which is to be fitted. A local anesthetic is used to ensure that the patient is comfortable throughout this procedure. In the next step teeth model is made from which the bridge, pontic, and crowns are made by a dental lab. Your dentist will prepare the teeth on both sides of the gap and a bridge is attached to these teeth. An impression or an image of your teeth or space is usually taken by the doctor. Then this information is sent to the dental laboratory where a bridge is usually made by the lab technicians followed by the instructions of the dentists.
The prosthetics should be matched as closely as possible keeping in mind the color of the surrounding natural teeth for aesthetic purposes1, so a sample color can be taken at this point. In your next visit to the dentist, replacement of a temporary bridge will be removed and the new porcelain or a metal bridge will be checked and made adjusted as required to achieve a proper fit bridge. A local anesthetic is usually given at the beginning of this appointment to increase patient comfort. You may need to visit your doctor to check the fit of the metal framework and bite which is dependent on each individual case. If your dental bridge founds to be a fixed bridge then your dentist might cement it temporarily in the place for a few weeks to make sure that it is fitting properly. After this, the bridge is fixed into its place.
This bridge is permanent and cannot be taken out of your mouth without the help of the dentist. In some cases, a dental implant can be needed to anchor the bridge, particularly if the teeth on either side of the gap are not strong enough to support the bridge by themselves. Bridges are usually made from metals, ceramic, or a combination of the two. Dental cement can also be used to fix the dental bridge in place on the abutment teeth. Only after this, the results of the dental bridge can be seen and the patient can experiment how it feels like on gently biting the teeth together. It is quite expected that the bridge might feel unfamiliar at the beginning, but this usually goes off quickly. In some cases, few adjustments might be required for the bridge to set in properly.
Benefits of Dental Bridges
The benefits of dental bridges for missing teeth include:
- It helps to restore your smile.
- It restores the ability to speak and chew properly.
- It helps to maintain the shape of your face.
- It distributes the forces in your bite by replacing the missing teeth.
- It also helps to prevents drifting out of the remaining teeth.
Cost of Dental Bridges
- Traditional or cantilever bridges typically cost up to $2,000 – $5,000
- Maryland bridges typically cost up to $1,500 – $2,500
- An implant-supported bridge can cost up to $5,000 – $15,000
Care and Follow-up post a Dental Bridge
Follow up is extremely important in case of dental bridge procedure in order to make sure that the patient is aware of what to expect and also understands well how to take care of their new dental bridge. The dentist should take out some time to explain the particulars of the dental bridge, including the oral care which needs to be followed and when one should seek dental advice. When the recommended maintenance is done and complete care is taken, a dental bridge often lasts for more than ten years. Care should be completely taken care of by brushing teeth twice a day with good toothpaste which helps maintain a dentist-clean feeling. Floss at least once a day under the false tooth as well as between your natural teeth. You can even use regular floss or a proxy brush, which is basically a tiny brush specially designed to get into all the nooks and crannies between teeth. Visit your dentist or a dental hygienist regularly for professional cleaning of the bridge. Maintain a diet higher in fruits, vegetables, and fiber than meat.
Visit your dentist if you find any problems which include bleeding gums, fever, pain in your gums or teeth, difficulty in chewing or biting of food. Immediate need for consultation is needed if you have itching, mouth or tongue swelling, hives, or breathing problems such as difficulty in breathing, shortness of breath, labored breathing, or wheezing which may occur due to a rare reaction of anesthesia.