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A dental bridge is a type of dental restoration that replaces one or more missing teeth. It fills the gap with one or more false teeth, using the surrounding teeth as support.
Also known as fixed partial dentures, dental bridges are made up of two main components:
The natural teeth (abutments) themselves are usually fitted with dental crowns. Dental crowns on natural teeth are often referred to as retainers. They’re attached to the artificial teeth (pontics) with connectors.
You may need dental bridges if you have missing teeth. Your teeth share the pressure of biting and chewing and exert pressure on each other.
Dr. Nandita Lilly, one of NewMouth’s in-house dentists, says, “A missing tooth is a serious matter. If the tooth is not replaced, other teeth can drift out of position, change the bite, possibly leading to tooth decay and gum disease.”
Dental implants can also replace missing teeth, but not everyone is qualified for implants.
Your dentist may recommend a bridge if you:
If you are a candidate for a bridge, your dentist can also help you decide what kind of dental bridge procedure is best for you.
Your teeth work together as one unit. If you lose a tooth, another may move into the opening. This can cause jaw issues and pain.
When teeth move around in an attempt to fill the space, you may experience:
There are four different kinds of dental bridges. What makes them different, generally, is how they attach.
A conventional or traditional dental bridge requires a crown (retainer) to attach to both abutment teeth. The connectors to both retainers can be rigid (fixed-fixed), or one of them can allow some movement (fixed-movable).
Your dentist will decide which one you need depending on your specific situation. Fixed-fixed bridges require the adjacent teeth to be parallel, while fixed-movable ones allow for more deviation.
Conventional bridges can also have a cantilever design, which is now less common. These bridges have just one abutment tooth for support rather than two.
Cantilever bridges are ideal for someone with teeth on only one side of the missing front tooth or gap.
An adhesive or resin-bonded bridge, also called a Maryland bridge, doesn’t require dental crowns on the abutment teeth. Instead, it features wings on either side of the artificial tooth that attaches to your abutment teeth by an adhesive.
The most common use for Maryland bridges is on the front teeth. These bridges require less preparation, but for the same reason, they may not be as secure as conventional bridges.
On the other hand, the less complex nature of an adhesive means a less invasive procedure.
This type of bridge is similar to the conventional permanent bridge. The difference is that the abutment teeth are implants rather than a retainer crown being placed over your natural tooth.
The cost of your new dental bridge depends on the type of bridge you choose:
Other factors that affect the cost of a dental bridge include:
Dental bridges offer some clear benefits, but they aren’t without risks.
Taking care of your oral health can significantly minimize the possibility of complications or dental bridge failure.
Although they are fixed, bridges don’t last forever. They experience wear and tear over time, so you’ll need to replace them at some point.
To ensure that your bridge remains in good shape for as long as possible, you’ll need to:
If a bridge isn’t right for you, there are other dental restoration options available:
Like bridges, these options each have their advantages and disadvantages. Your dentist can provide information about specific options suitable for your unique situation.
If you are missing teeth, it may be hard to speak clearly. Placing a dental bridge may help improve your speech.
Most people find eating with a dental bridge easier than eating with missing teeth. Some people prefer to consume softer foods while acclimating to their new bridge.
Most dental bridges last five to seven years. However, some dental bridges last more than 10 years with proper care.
Dental bridges are a type of fixed dental restoration for missing teeth. They consist of one or more pontics (fake teeth) supported by abutments on one or both sides.
There are different ways that bridges can attach, as well as different types of materials. Some may suit your preferences more than others.
Talk to your dentist about your options.
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