A dental bridge contains a false tooth, or pontic, that fills in a gap in your smile.
The pontic can be made from porcelain, alloys or gold and is anchored by two crowns, one on each side.
Aside from giving you a flattering full smile, a bridge can also help you to speak and chew better. It also helps your other teeth from shifting over time.
Missing teeth can lead to tooth decay and periodontal disease, and having a bridge can prevent these problems.
Most dental bridges are fixed and cannot be removed.
A traditional bridge is made from a porcelain pontic that is fused to either ceramics or metal.
Cantilever bridges are used if there is only one tooth that borders the pontic.
A resin-bonded bridge, or Maryland bridge, contains plastic pontics and gums that are encased in a metal frame and bonded to your real teeth. These bridges are mostly used to replace front teeth.
In order to install a traditional or cantilever bridge, the surrounding teeth are contoured to make room for the crown, meaning that a part of the tooth enamel must be removed.
An impression of your teeth will be made so that the bridge can be created. In the meantime, you’ll wear a temporary bridge to protect your teeth and gums.
Once the permanent bridge is in place, you may have to visit your dentist for multiple checkups to ensure that it’s fitted correctly. Resin-bonded bridges don’t require as much preparation.
Permanent bridges will eventually be cemented in place.
The cost of a dental bridge will vary depending on which type of bridge you need, including the material the pontic will be made from.
Dental insurance usually pays a portion of the fee. Cost will increase if you need additional procedures, like a root canal or filling in the neighboring teeth.
A bridge actually replaces missing teeth which should make eating easier for most patients. However, eat soft foods that have been cut into small pieces until you have become accustomed to the bridge.
A bridge should also help you speak properly as missing teeth can occasionally affect speech.
By taking care of your teeth, you can make your bridge last as long as 15 years before you need it replaced or repaired.
Good oral hygiene includes brushing your teeth with fluoride toothpaste at least twice every day and flossing daily. Your dentist will give you a special floss threader that you can use with your bridge.
A nutritious diet that avoids an overabundance of sweets is also imperative to dental health.