As the name suggests, dental bridges "bridge" gaps between healthy teeth where one or more teeth may be missing. Bridges are the best treatment in cases where one or more teeth are missing from an area of the mouth that is between two healthy teeth. The healthy teeth at each end of the gap in the gums will act as anchors for the artificial bridge. Alternately, dental implants can operate as anchors in cases where the remaining natural teeth are not sufficient.
Dental bridge options
When it comes to missing teeth, there are two bridge options the patient needs to familiarize him or herself with, tooth-supported fixed bridge and resin-bonded bridge. A tooth-supported fixed bridge grinds down the healthy teeth on each side of the missing tooth gap so that they can lay a bridge across those teeth to support the crown that replaces the missing tooth.
A resin-bonded bridge uses porcelain or metal wings on each side of the bridge bonded to the existing teeth. As with the dentures though, both bridge options run the risk of the bridge deteriorating. Potentially altering the smile structure permanently.
Candidates for dental bridges
Individuals who are good candidates for dental bridges will have two strong and healthy teeth in the mouth on each side of the area where teeth are missing. These teeth must have a strong root. People who have problems with their teeth that might require a procedure like a root canal in the future are not good candidates for dental bridges because the teeth could become infected or lose their strength and become damaged over time.
A person who does not have healthy teeth near the area to be bridged could be eligible for dental implants. Implants are artificial anchors that are set in the gums. Receiving implants can take many weeks or months depending on the person. Implants require healthy bones and gums and are permanent once placed in the mouth.
Dental bridges procedure
The process of receiving dental bridges starts with the dentist sculpting the existing teeth to fit them for crowns. This process usually involves removing most of the outer tooth, leaving only the core. We will then make a mold of the teeth and send it to a dental lab. The dental lab will customize the bridge so that it is a perfect fit with the measurements from the mold. The artificial teeth are between the anchor crowns that we can adjust for color and texture to match the surrounding teeth.
The final stage of receiving a dental bridge involves permanently bonding the crowns to the teeth. We do this with a special dental resin. The entire procedure requires two visits to the dentist. We might use temporary crowns in the mouth between visits, while the lab makes the dental bridge to protect the teeth. Dental bridges can last for many years or decades with proper oral hygiene.
Dental bridges play an important role in preventing problems that can result from missing teeth. While keeping the surrounding teeth from moving out of position, they also perfect the smile and help patients chew and speak properly. With a dental bridge to suit most dental needs, there is no reason not to have the best type fitted to your needs.
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