When a tooth is irreparably damaged, decayed, or broken it can leave a gap in your smile. Gaps in your teeth can affect the functionality of your mouth, as teeth surrounding the void can move over time, resulting in misalignment and a variety of other dental issues. Additionally, gaps can affect your self-esteem and confidence. Dental bridges are an effective way to fill gaps left by missing teeth by utilizing a false tooth that looks and feels natural and prevents other teeth from shifting into that space.
Dental bridges are made up of two or three crowns for the teeth on either side of the gap that serves as anchors for the false tooth/teeth that will cover the gap. Dental bridges can be nearly imperceptible. Bridges are made up of two elements: abutment teeth which are the anchoring teeth, and pontics which are the false teeth.
At least two visits to the dentist are needed for a dental bridge. Your dentist will examine your teeth at your first appointment. After applying a local anesthetic, the dentist will prepare the abutment teeth by filing away enough of the enamel to make the tooth thin enough for the crown to fit snugly over it, totally concealing it. Then, the dentist will take impressions of your teeth to serve as a reference for the dental laboratory that will fabricate your crowns, pontics, and bridges, ensuring a seamless match. Finally, a temporary bridge may be created to shield the abutment teeth and void until the permanent bridge is made.
During your second appointment, you will have your temporary cover removed and your permanent bridge fitted. You may have to come back to the dentist several times to ensure proper fit. Your dentist may recommend a ‘practice run’ until your bridge is permanently cemented in place. This stage involves implanting them with a temporary adhesive to ensure that they are fully comfortable before permanently cementing them in place.
Pontics are made from a variety of materials including metal alloys, gold, and porcelain. The material is chosen based on the desired cosmetic result. If you prefer porcelain, the false tooth can be color-matched to your teeth, creating an entirely natural appearance.
There are three types of dental bridges, and your dentist can choose the one that is right for you based on your situation:
The traditional bridge is the most commonly used type of bridge. It consists of crowns for the teeth on either side of the gap which serves as anchors for the pontic. Traditional bridges are usually made of porcelain fused to ceramic or metal.
Also known as the Maryland bonded bridge, the resin-bonded bridge is composed of many materials, including porcelain fused to metal, complete porcelain, or sometimes plastic teeth and gums that are supported by a porcelain or metal structure. The bridge’s wings, which are usually made of metal or porcelain, are tightly bonded to the natural teeth on each side.
Cantilever bridges are used where only one side of the void has permanent teeth that can act as anchors. Cantilever bridges have previously caused issues when used in the back of the mouth, exerting excessive strain on the anchor tooth, resulting in injury and even breakage.
A dental bridge will require at least two visits to your dentist. During the first visit, your dentist will carry out a thorough examination of your teeth.
After giving you a local anesthetic, he/she will prepare the abutment teeth by filing away some of the enamel in order to make your tooth small enough for the crown to sit over it, hiding it completely. Then your dentist will take impressions of your teeth which will be used as a guide for the dental lab that will be making your crowns, pontic and bridge so that it is a perfect fit. Finally, the abutment teeth and gap will be covered with a temporary bridge to protect them while the final bridge is being created.
When your bridge is ready you will be invited back in to see the dentist who will remove your temporary cover and fit your final bridge. This may require multiple visits in order to ensure that the cover and fit is absolutely perfect. Before your bridge is cemented in place permanently, your dentist may suggest a ‘trial run’. This is where they are implanted with a temporary adhesive to check that they are completely comfortable before securing them in place with permanent cement.
How Can a Dental Bridge Help You?
A dental bridge can aid in the following:
Is a Dental Bridge Right for You?
If you have gaps in your mouth, a dental bridge may help you fill the void, and provide the needed support and alignment in your bite. To learn more about the procedure or to schedule an appointment contact us at 815-398-3800.