19 Jan 2018 Dental Bridges 101
It’s a new year and a great time to improve your smile, your bite, and the health of your mouth. If you have a gap in your mouth from a missing tooth, it can be greatly improved with a bridge. This article will tell you all you need to know about bridges.
What is a bridge?
A bridge is a fixed dental restoration, meaning that it is fixed in place in your mouth. A bridge is a solution to a missing tooth. In a traditional bridge, the adjacent teeth, on either side of a gap, are crowned and a false tooth is placed in the gap and supported by the crowned teeth on either side. It is cemented into place.
A bridge can also be supported by implants (which are false teeth screwed into the jaw bone) on either side of the gap. This type of bridge is called a Maryland Bonded Bridge, a long name for a slightly different procedure. With implants, some small micro posts are implanted in the gap to further support the bridge. If you have implants, a dentist can use an x-ray or a CT scan to look at your jaw bone. Dentists can use some high tech procedures to strengthen your jaw if needed.
>Who is the best candidate for a bridge?
The best candidate for a bridge is someone with a 1-3 tooth gap.
What material are used in making a bridge?
Bridges can be made of plastic, gold, alloys, pordelain, or a combination.
What process would I go through to get a bridge put in?
You would make at least 2 visits to the dentist.
On visit 1, the dentist would remove the enamel on the teeth adjacent teeth to the gap and prepare them for a crown. He or she would also make impressions of the teeth that would be used to make the crowns and bridge. You would also receive a temporary bridge to protect the prepared teeth.
On visit 2, you would have the new bridge put in and adjusted. You may get the bridge cemented in on this visit or you make need other visits to make small adjustments.
How long does a bridge last?
A bridge lasts from 5-15 years depending on the care you give it. If you brush and floss regularly and have regular checkups, it will last longer.
Is it hard to eat with a bridge in?
It may take some getting used to at first but eating with a bridge is easier than having a gap in your mouth that traps food. If you have a gap that you don’t correct, the adjoining teeth can move out of alignment making it harder to eat.
Is it hard to speak with a bridge in?
It is actually easier to speak with a bridge in than with missing teeth.
What are the benefits to a bridge? Am I OK to do nothing?
The benefits to a bridge are much greater than its cost. Benefits include:
- Restoring your smile, of course!
- Restoring your ability to chew and speak.
- Maintaining face shape.
- Preventing teeth from drifting out of position.
Talk to a dentist to learn more about what a bridge could do for you.