The world of dentistry offers numerous solutions for tooth loss, and one of the most common treatment options is dental bridges. They are designed to replace missing teeth, restore the functionality of your teeth, and improve the appearance of your smile.
Types of Dental Bridges
There are several types of dental bridges that you can choose from depending on your specific needs:
Traditional Dental Bridges: As the most common type of dental bridge, this option involves creating a crown for the tooth or implant on either side of the missing tooth, with a pontic (false tooth) in between. The adjacent natural teeth serve as strong pillars for the bridge.
Cantilever Dental Bridges: In situations where there are adjacent teeth on only one side of the missing tooth or teeth, a cantilever bridge may be used. Unlike traditional bridges, a cantilever bridge is anchored to only one neighboring tooth.
Maryland Dental Bridges: Also known as resin-bonded bridges, Maryland bridges offer a conservative alternative to traditional bridges. These bridges consist of a pontic that is held in place by a metal or porcelain framework. This framework is then bonded onto the backs of the two teeth adjacent to the missing tooth space.
Implant-Supported Bridges: As the name suggests, these bridges are supported by dental implants rather than crowns or frameworks. Typically, one implant is surgically placed for every missing tooth, and these implants hold the bridge in position. If it's not possible to place one implant per missing tooth, the bridge may have a pontic suspended between two implant-supported crowns.
Dental bridge placement involves several steps:
First, the abutment teeth are prepared. This involves recontouring these teeth by removing a portion of enamel to allow room for a crown to be placed over them.Next, impressions of your teeth are made, which will serve as a model from which the dental lab will create your bridge, pontic, and crowns.
Your dentist will provide you with a temporary bridge to wear to protect your exposed teeth and gums while your bridge is being made.
During your next visit, your temporary bridge will be removed and the new permanent bridge will be checked and adjusted, as necessary, to achieve a proper fit. Multiple visits may be required to check the fit of the metal framework and bite. This is dependent on each individual's case.
Once the dental bridge is cemented into place, it will support the surrounding teeth, preventing them from shifting out of position and causing further damage. Good oral hygiene, including flossing at least once a day and regular dental check-ups, will help maintain a healthy smile and prolong the life of your bridge.