Dental bridges are a common and effective treatment for replacing missing teeth. A dental bridge is a fixed appliance used to replace one or more missing teeth. It consists of one or more artificial teeth, called pontics, attached to crowns on either side. The crowns are then attached to the natural teeth on either side of the missing tooth or teeth, anchoring the bridge in place.
How dental bridges work
The process of getting a dental bridge typically involves two or three visits to the dentist. During the first visit, the dentist will prepare the teeth on either side of the missing tooth or teeth by removing a small amount of enamel to make room for the crowns. Impressions of the teeth will be taken and sent to a dental laboratory, where the bridge will be custom-made.
In the meantime, the dentist will fit you with a temporary bridge to protect the prepared teeth and restore your ability to eat and speak. At the second visit, the dentist will remove the temporary bridge and fit you with the permanent bridge. The dentist will make necessary adjustments to ensure that the bridge fits properly and comfortably.
There are several dental bridges, including traditional bridges, cantilever bridges, and Maryland bridges. Conventional bridges are the most common when natural teeth are on both sides of the missing tooth or teeth. Cantilever bridges are used when there is only a natural tooth on one side of the missing tooth or teeth. Maryland bridges are used when the missing tooth or teeth are in the front of the mouth and are supported by a framework bonded to the back of the adjacent teeth.
Benefits of dental bridges
There are several benefits to getting a dental bridge, including the following:
- Improved appearance and smile: Dental bridges can restore your smile and improve your appearance by replacing missing teeth. This can boost your confidence and improve your overall quality of life.
- Improved ability to eat and speak: Missing teeth can make eating and speaking difficult. Dental bridges can restore your ability to chew and speak normally, making it easier to eat a healthy diet and communicate effectively.
- Improved oral health: Dental bridges can help maintain the alignment of your teeth and prevent the surrounding teeth from shifting out of place. This can help prevent problems such as tooth decay and gum disease and improve your overall oral health.
Risks and drawbacks of Dental Bridges
While dental bridges are a common and effective treatment for replacing missing teeth, but there are some risks and drawbacks. These include:
- Possible tooth sensitivity: Preparing the teeth for a dental bridge can cause temporary sensitivity, especially to hot or cold foods and drinks. This sensitivity typically goes away within a few weeks but can be uncomfortable.
- Possible damage to surrounding teeth: In some cases, preparing the teeth for a dental bridge can cause damage to the surrounding teeth. This can lead to further problems, such as tooth decay or root canal treatment.
- Possible need for replacement: Dental bridges can last for many years, but they will eventually need to be replaced. This can be a time-consuming and costly, so it’s important to consider the long-term costs of a dental bridge.
Regular dental checkups are important for maintaining good dental health and saving money. By identifying and treating problems early on, regular checkups can prevent tooth decay and gum disease and save you from more expensive procedures in the future. Many dental insurance plans cover routine checkups, so you may be able to get these services at little or no cost. Finding a dentist and scheduling regular checkups can help keep your teeth healthy and save money on your dental care.