If you are missing one or more teeth, your dentist may recommend a dental bridge. A dental bridge serves as a permanent replacement for missing teeth by helping to “bridge” the gap with artificial teeth. Dental bridges are made by placing crowns on the teeth on one or both sides of the gap. The crowns are then joined together with a false tooth or teeth. With good oral hygiene and regular visits to a dentist, dental bridges can last an average of five to seven years.
Common Types of Dental Bridges
Dental bridges are versatile dental prosthetics that can be made out of a range of materials, such as ceramic, porcelain, composite, or zirconium. There are also several different types of dental bridges, including:
- Traditional Bridge
This is the most common type of dental bridge. A traditional bridge consists of two dental crowns and an abutment. The artificial replacement tooth is placed between the two crowns for adequate support. For a traditional bridge to be successful, the patient must have their adjacent teeth intact on both sides.
- Cantilever Bridge
While similar to traditional bridges, cantilever bridges have just one dental crown and a replacement tooth. This means that the patient does not need to have two adjacent teeth to support the bridge. Although cantilever bridges are strong and effective, they are not as durable as traditional bridges.
- Maryland Bonded Bridge
Also referred to as resin-bonded bridges, this type of bridge does not use dental crowns to support the artificial tooth. Instead, a Maryland bonded bridge relies on a metal framework. The pontic is placed in the gap and porcelain wings are placed on either side.
- Implant-Supported Dental Bridge
Implant-supported dental bridges rely on dental implants for support. Implants are placed into the jawbone for each missing tooth. When dental implants are used to help support a dental prosthetic, it results in the sturdiest type of bridge.
How Dental Bridges Can Improve Oral Health
Tooth loss is a common problem among adults which can cause an array of health and dental problems. If you fail to replace a missing tooth as soon as possible, the gap in the dental arch can cause the remaining teeth to drift out of alignment.
This misalignment can cause a malocclusion or “bad bite,” damage to the tongue and inner cheek due to constant friction, worn down enamel, and issues associated with TMJ dysfunction like jaw pain and chronic headaches.
Dental bridges can help patients maintain alignment and prevent movement of the teeth. Not only can this improve the function of the patient’s smile, but can also improve their appearance.
Dental Bridges Care Tips
After getting a dental bridge, it’s important to continue practicing thorough and consistent oral hygiene. Proper oral health care for dental bridge wearers should involve the following:
- Brush your teeth at least two times per day for a full two minutes. If you haven’t already, switch to a soft-bristled toothbrush to prevent gum irritation and enamel wear. Also, choose a non-abrasive toothbrush that will not damage your crowns.
- Floss at least once per day, preferably before bed. Review the proper technique for flossing your teeth and floss at least once per day, ideally right before bedtime and after brushing your teeth to remove any remaining debris.
- Visit your dentist for checkups every six months. During these visits, a dental professional will check your teeth and gums for signs of disease. Your hygienist will also perform a professional cleaning.
Contact Hancock Village Dental
If you are missing one or multiple consecutive teeth, you may be a good candidate for a dental bridge. Individuals who are missing many teeth should consider alternative treatment, such as a fixed or removable partial denture. For a dental bridge to be successful, a patient must have some surrounding teeth to serve as a foundation for the bridge. These “support” teeth must be free from decay and structurally sound.
To learn more about dental bridges or to see if you are a good candidate for this procedure, reach out to Hancock Village Dental to schedule an appointment.