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Dental Bridges: Procedure, Types, Pros & Cons | Hawaii Family Dental

Written by Danica Lacson on September 28, 2018

What is a Dental Bridge?

A kind of dental restoration, a dental bridge, as its name suggests, bridges the discomfited spaces caused by one or more missing teeth. It is custom-fitted to match the size, shape, and color of the patient’s existing teeth, restoring the dentition’s natural look.

A dental bridge is comprised of artificial teeth anchored on one or more adjacent teeth, also known as, abutment teeth. The prosthetic teeth are then called pontics which are fabricated from porcelain, alloys, gold, or a combination of these materials. Unlike dentures, a dental bridge is permanent.

What are the types of Dental Bridge?

There are three main types of dental bridge namely the traditional, cantilever, and the resin-bonded or Maryland bonded bridges.

Traditional Bridges

The most typical type of bridges, traditional bridges are created with either ceramics or porcelain fused to metal. This type of dental bridges involves the creation of a crown for the tooth or implant on both sides of the missing tooth with a pontic placed between them.

Cantilever Bridges

Cantilever bridges are bridges put when there are adjacent teeth on only one side of the missing tooth or teeth. This type of bridges is not recommended for missing teeth in the back of the mouth as there is a tendency that the bridge will be subjected to too much force and be damaged since there is only one side for support.

Maryland-bonded Bridges

Also known as resin-bonded bridges, Maryland-bonded bridges are made of porcelain or porcelain fused to metal which relies on a composite resin cement for its retention. It is considered the least invasive and conservative type of dental bridge.

What Happens During A Dental Bridge Procedure?

A dental bridge procedure typically needs two visits to the dentist with the first visit done for preparation and the second visit done for the final touches.

It must be noted even before commencing the dental bridge procedure, your dentist has done the necessary preparatory procedures like a dental checkup and X-rays to ensure that a dental bridge is the right treatment for your missing teeth.

During the initial visit, the abutment or supporting teeth are prepared through contouring them. Parts of the enamel are scraped off to create adequate space for the crowns which will envelop the teeth. Next, impressions of the teeth will be created. The impressions will serve as patterns or form in which the pontics and the bridge will be based from when created in the dental laboratory.

To protect the recontoured teeth, temporary bridge or crowns will be put on the teeth while the final dental bridge is being created.

On the second visit, the temporary bridge will be removed, and the final dental bridge will be put, examined, and adjusted as needed for a more accurate fit. More visits may be needed depending on the fit and aptness of the dental bridge.

What are the advantages of dental bridges?

Dental bridges have a lot of advantages that make them a great option for the replacement of missing tooth or teeth. Among its advantages include:

  • Aesthetically pleasing. A dental bridge provides a natural-looking restoration to one’s smile especially with porcelain dental bridge which can easily camouflage with the natural color of the teeth and give a superior resistance to stains. Aside from filling the gap left by a missing tooth, it also maintains the natural shape of the face.
  • Innately protective. The placement of the bridge helps preserve the patient’s natural dentition, assuming the functionality and strength of the missing tooth.
  • Irremovable. Unlike dentures, dental bridges are fixed in the mouth. Patients need not worry of accidental drops and falls that can be embarrassing and cause damage to the dentures.
  • Long-lasting. With proper care, dental bridges can last up to ten to 15 years.
  • Cost-effective. Compared to dental implants, bridges are less expensive, especially if there are several teeth that in need of replacement.
  • Time-saving. A dental bridge procedure often requires only a single visit.
  • Less invasive. Compared to other dental procedures like dental implants which necessitate at least one surgery, a dental bridge procedure does not require surgeries like bone grafting. It simply recontour a part of the enamel to create space for the dental bridge.

What are the disadvantages of Dental Bridges?

  • Sensitivity and Vulnerability During Recovery Phase. The patient may experience tooth sensitivity following the procedure which can take a few weeks. Reduction of exposure to extreme temperatures like sipping hot and cold drinks is recommended to minimize the tendency of discomfort due to tooth sensitivity. Moreover, the teeth can be susceptible to bacteria buildup and infection, so proper oral hygiene is highly advised.
  • Trauma to adjacent teeth. As the healthy teeth on both sides of the missing tooth have been filed down to create space for the dental bridge, the abutment teeth’s integrity can be compromised.
  • Affect the nerves. Similar to what was mentioned above, the filing down of the enamel can affect some nerves.
  • Difficulty in Flossing. Since the artificial tooth or teeth are adjoined on the anchor teeth, flossing normally will be impossible to do. Therefore, it is recommended to take special care in brushing. It is also advised to visit the dentist for professional teeth cleaning to ensure that plaque and tartar will not accumulate, and the teeth will remain healthy.

Disclaimer: The oral health information published on this web page is solely intended for educational purposes. Hawaii Family Dental strongly recommends to always consult licensed dentists or other qualified health care professionals for any questions concerning your oral health.

References:

  • https://www.gotoapro.org/facts-figures/
  • https://www.webmd.com/oral-health/guide/dental-health-bridges#1
  • https://www.healthline.com/health/dental-bridge
  • https://www.dentalhealth.org/bridges-and-partial-dentures
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