Bridging the gaps
A dental bridge is used to provide tooth replacement for one or more missing teeth.
Although the cosmetic effect of missing teeth is often of concern, the greater issue is what happens to the ability to chew food, maintain healthy gums and when teeth surrounding the gap start to shift. Dental bridges provide the solution. A dental bridge procedure uses a crown, also known as a ‘pontic’ and fuses it between two porcelain crowns to fill the empty area. The crowns holding the pontic’s in place are attached to the adjacent teeth, replacing the missing tooth/teeth and giving you back a smile with no gaps.
This is a relatively simple dental procedure that, as well as providing a nice cosmetic result, helps to correct any issues related to bite, speech or chewing ability arising as the result of missing teeth.
Accompanied by good dental hygiene, preventative oral care and regular check-ups, dental bridges can last for many years.
If you have gaps you’d like to fill, your Dental Care Network dentist can assess if this, or perhaps a dental implant, is the best option for you.
Contact us or keep reading to learn more about Bridges.
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A Dental Bridge is aptly named because it ‘bridges’ the space where a tooth or teeth have gone missing.
There are several different kinds of Dental Bridge that can be utilised depending on the situation.
The most common form is a ‘Fixed’ Bridge. This is dental apparatus comprising two crowns and a false tooth/teeth, known as a pontic(s). This form of Dental Bridge requires the abutment teeth be specially shaped and prepared to receive the crowns. The pontic(s) is then fused between the two crowns and the crowns placed over the teeth on either side of a dental gap, with the pontic(s) replacing the missing tooth or teeth
Sometimes referred to as a ‘Maryland’, the bonded bridge does not use crowns. It is designed with wings on either side of the pontic and these are bonded directly to the supporting teeth on either side. The use of this form of bridge means the teeth adjacent to the pontic do not have to be reshaped but the bridge is generally more suitable for replacing missing front teeth where there is less pressure. The wings are usually a metal alloy so the result may not always be as aesthetically pleasing as a traditional fixed bridge.
Both the fixed and bonded bridge require the teeth adjacent to the dental gap to work. These are called ‘abutment’ teeth. If abutment teeth are not present on both sides of the dental gap (for instance, when the missing tooth is the last molar), then the solution may be a cantilever bridge. Often the cantilever bridge uses the same number of crowns but the layout is different. The abutment crowns are placed next to each other with the pontic placed on the end.
Depending on the kind of bridge your dentist recommends, the preparation may differ slightly. In the majority of cases, the process begins with recontouring the abutment teeth and shaping them down so they can receive the crowns.
Impressions are then made and from this a model of each component of the bridge is made. The production of the model and the manufacture of the bridge itself is a specialised process that can take some time so in the interim, a temporary bridge is fitted to protect the teeth and gums.
Once the permanent bridge apparatus is ready, the temporary bridge is removed. The fitting of the permanent bridge may require some adjustment so temporary dental cement is sometimes used for the first few weeks.
When the fit has been adjusted to ensure no discomfort, slippage or irritation to the wearer, it will be secured into place with permanent dental cement.
Dental Bridges can be costly, and you must keep in mind they play an important part in your oral health and proper function of your teeth and jaw. The average cost will differ between different areas and dental practitioners. An experienced dentist may charge slightly more for the level of expertise and service they provide.
The type of bridge and the materials used, will affect both the cost of the bridge and how long the treatment will last.
As a result, it is important when making enquiries with a dentist to, find out more than simply the cost. Ask what materials they use and how long they are likely to last also.
If you’re looking for payment options to make your trip to the dentist more affordable, a dental payment plan can help. Ask your dentist about the payment options for this treatment.
Take the first step towards a new smile and book your appointment today.
A DCN dentist will be able to advise you on the best dental solution for your situation