In cases of severe damage or missing teeth due to accidental damage, a dental bridge may be the solution. Dental bridges can involve the use of bonding, implants or, in certain cases, crowns to repair and restore your smile. A properly formed and fitted dental bridge can last for a decade or more and can correct any jaw or facial misalignment associated with missing or damaged teeth.
A dental bridge bridges empty spaces caused by missing teeth. Bridges are custom-fit to match the size, shape, and color of existing teeth and look completely natural. Unlike dentures, a dental bridge is permanent.
What Types of Dental Bridges are There?
There are three main types of dental bridges, the traditional cantilever and the resin-bonded or Maryland bonded bridges.
Traditional Bridges: Traditional bridges are the most popular. They are either ceramics or porcelain fused to metal. This type of dental bridge involves creating 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 bridge typically isn't recommended for missing teeth in the back of the mouth. The jaw's back has a lot of force, and the bridge might be damaged since there is only one side for support.
Maryland-bonded Bridges: Also known as resin-bonded bridges, Maryland-bonded bridges porcelain or porcelain fused to metal. They rely on a composite resin cement for its retention. It is considered the least invasive and conservative type of dental bridge.
What are the Advantages of Dental Bridges?
Dental bridges have many advantages that make them an excellent option for replacing missing teeth, like:
Aesthetically pleasing. A dental bridge provides a natural-looking restoration to one's smile, especially with a porcelain dental bridge, which can easily camouflage with the teeth' natural color and give superior resistance to stains. Aside from filling the gap left by a missing tooth, it also maintains the face's natural shape.
Innately protective. The bridge placement helps preserve the patient's natural dentition, assuming the missing tooth's functionality and strength.
Irremovable and long-lasting. Dental bridges don't fall out. You don't need to worry about accidental and embarrassing drops, and 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 several teeth need 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 recontours merely a part of the enamel to create space for the dental bridge.
What Happens at My Appointment?
A dental bridge procedure typically needs two visits to the dentist. The first visit involves preparation, and the second visit involves the final touches.
Before commencing the dental bridge procedure, your dentist should do the necessary preparatory procedures like a dental checkup and X-rays. Doing these can ensure a bridge is a right treatment for your missing teeth.
During the initial visit, the abutment or supporting teeth are contoured. 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 dental laboratory will create a mold from the impressions. The mold helps make the bridge.
The second visit involves removing the temporary bridge and installing and adjusting the final dental bridge for an accurate fit.
What's the Difference between Bridges and Dentures?
At a glance, the difference seems quite clear. For one, there's the matter of how these restorations are applied. A fixed bridge "bridges" the gap between two teeth using one or several false teeth, and as such, use the adjacent teeth as an anchor. These teeth are slightly shaved to fit the crowns attached to the artificial tooth. But here's the thing—dentures, particularly partial dentures, do the same thing. They also anchor to adjacent teeth to replace any missing teeth in between.
If both restorations aim to bridge any missing teeth gaps, then how do they differ? And is a denture similar to a bridge? To answer these questions, let's get into the difference between dentures and bridges.
You Can't Remove a Bridge.
While both restorations use false teeth, the most significant difference between bridges and dentures is whether you can take them off. Bridges anchor themselves to adjoining teeth. When a dental bridge is placed, it can only be removed by a dentist.
Bridges are Stable
Bridges are stable. The stability provided by the crowns on either side makes it less likely for the artificial tooth to fall out or move when you eat or do other activities. On the other hand, Dentures may afford a level of stability, but because of their nature, they may not feel as natural to the bite. And because they're removable, you're more liable to lose them as compared to fixed bridges.