Missing a tooth or several teeth doesn’t have to compromise your smile.
Bridges and implants are common, safe, and effective methods for all ages.
What is a Dental Bridge?
Based on its technical terminology, dental bridges “bridge” the discomfited spaces caused by one or several missing teeth.
The bridge is comprised of the artificial teeth that is anchored on one or more adjacent teeth, also known as abutment teeth.
Fabricated from porcelain, alloys, gold, or a combination of all, these prosthetic teeth are called pontics.
Unlike dentures, the majority of bridges are irremovable.
They are custom-fitted to match the size, shape, and color of the patient’s existing teeth, thereby restoring the dentition’s natural beauty.
Bridges offer an array of benefits. The installation of the prosthetic aids in maintaining proper teeth alignment by bracing the teeth in place and filling the gap. The existence of teeth gaps has a drifting effect on the remaining teeth.
Bridges also provide a remedy to overbites and underbites, and helps in the overall preservation of oral health and cosmetic appeal of having a complete set of teeth.
Benefits of Dental Bridges
In general, the primary advantages of having dental bridges include the following:
- Looks aesthetically pleasing. The natural appearance of the prosthesis is not only a restorative treatment to one’s smile, it also helps in maintaining the natural contour of the face. Amongst all the materials used for creating bridges, porcelain is the most popular. It can easily camouflage with the natural coloration of the teeth and has superior resistance against stains. The customization in shape, color, and size allows the dental technician to be more flexible in attaining the patient’s desired result.
- Innately protective. The placement of the bridge helps preserve the patient’s natural dentition, assuming the functionality and strength of the missing tooth. So when a bite calls for equal distribution of force, the bridge is there for reinforcement.
- Irremovable. Unlike partial dentures, bridges are fixed in the mouth. Hence, there’s no need to worry about accidental drops and falls. With good oral hygiene, bridges can last up to 10-15 years.
- Cost-effective than dental implants. Compared to dental implants, bridges are less expensive, especially if there are several teeth that needs replacement. Typically, dental insurance policies cover a percentage of the fee depending on the type of dental plan purchased.
- Time-saving. As long as the teeth that needs replacement has already been extracted, the procedure will only require one dental visit.
- Less invasive. Compared to dental implants that necessitate one or several surgeries to ensure dental implantology, dental bridge installation doesn’t require bone grafting.
Downsides of Dental Bridges
As much as it is beneficial to opt for dental bridges, the treatment also has its share of disadvantages.
- Vulnerability to bacteria and sensitivity. The patient will typically experience tooth sensitivity right after the procedure, which can last for up to a few weeks. This is chiefly expected with exposure to extreme temperatures like the consumption of hot and cold drinks. During its recovery phase, the teeth are susceptible to bacteria build-up and eventually, infection, unless proper oral hygiene is practiced.
- Trauma to adjacent teeth. In order to create space for the bridgework, the healthy teeth on either side of the empty slot needs to be filed down. The removal of materials from the abutment teeth compromises its long-term integrity, causing its failure and degradation in the future. However, the intensity of abutment destructiveness is dependent on the type of bridge being installed. Both the adhesive resin-bonded and cantilever bridges are less aggressive.
- Damage to the nerves. In connection with the previous bullet, 1-15% of the affected nerves usually dies. To counter this adverse effect, a root canal treatment is necessary.
- Cleaning difficulty. Special care is required to ensure the proper cleanup of the bridge. The prosthetic’s underside is vulnerable to plaque accumulation and since the artificial teeth are adjoined fixed on its anchor teeth, flossing it in a normal manner is impossible to do.
The challenges associated with missing teeth are greatly diminished with bridge placement. It makes eating and speaking easier, provided that the patients follows their dentist’s recommended diet.
Proper brushing and flossing can also be demonstrated by your dental hygienist or dentist. With consideration to its disadvantages, the process of attaching dental bridges is not only simple, quick, and less expensive, but it is also favored by many and offered by almost all dental clinics.