Purpose of Dental Bridges
Bridges are a dental procedure which are used to fill in a gap caused by missing teeth. They work a lot like a traditional bridge in that they reach across an empty space to fill in the gap from one side to another. Dental bridges are created by combining two crowns and at least one prosthetic, or false tooth in between. The crowns are place on the two teeth opposite from each other with the gap being filled with the false teeth in between. The false teeth can be made from a variety of materials including gold, porcelain, alloys or any combination of these. The natural teeth on either side of the gap provide the necessary support for the bridge.
Benefits of Dental Bridges
Bridges are constructed and customized to fit each individual’s mouth and fill this gap. They can be used for a variety of reasons but the most common benefits include:
- Restoring a natural smile
- Restoring proper chewing and speaking abilities
- Maintaining a natural shape of the face
- Distributing biting force properly by replacing the missing teeth
- Preventing other remaining teeth from drifting out of their positions
Types of Bridges
There are three basic types of dental bridges including:
- A Traditional Bridge – This is the most common type of bridge and they are typically made of ceramic or porcelain fused to a metal. They are created by two crowns fitted to the two teeth on opposite sides of the gap and a false tooth or teeth fixed between them to fill the gap.
- A Cantilever Bridge – This type of bridge is necessary when there are missing teeth but only one tooth adjacent to the gap. These are not used very often and they are not recommended for the areas in the back of the mouth as it can put too much pressure on the other teeth and cause them damage.
- Maryland Bonding Bridges – These are made out of porcelain, plastic or porcelain fused to a metal. They are usually supported by a framework constructed out of porcelain or metal and they have wings on each side which are bonded to the existing teeth.
Longevity of Dental Bridges
One of the most common questions by patients is how long will a bridge last and will I have to do it again? Dental bridges can last from 5 to 15 years but sometimes even longer. Patients who observe good oral hygiene practices and continue with regular dental checkups can easily expect the life span of a bridge to be over 10 years.
Care for Dental Bridges
Dental bridges need the same care as your natural teeth. By brushing at least twice a day, flossing once, and using an antiseptic mouthwash, patients can prevent tooth decay and keep their bridges in good condition. It is important to ask your dental professional if you need any kind of specific care other than a regular cleaning schedule. By maintaining good oral hygiene, patients can prevent tooth decay and gum disease even after they have a dental bridge.