Dental bridges are appliances used in dentistry for replacing the missing teeth. Since, any missing tooth can lay a bad impact on the functionality and appearance of your smile; you should look forward to get it replaced by your dentist. Apart from cosmetic issues, the missing teeth can lead to shifting of your other teeth, malocclusion and temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ). It can also increase the chances of a tooth decay due to the infectious agents (bacteria) invading the food particles that get lodged in the empty space of the missing tooth. You are at an increased risk for periodontal disease due to a missing tooth. Speech impediments have also been observed in such patients.
Like partial dentures and implants which are used in dentistry for the purpose of replacing the missing teeth, dental bridges are also widely used and highly effective appliances for the same purpose. There are various types of dental bridgeswhich include the conventional fixed bridges, resin-bonded bridges and the cantilever bridges.
The small issue associated with the conventional bridge and cantilever bridge is that these require shaping of those teeth that surround your missing tooth. Then the crowns are placed on your shaped teeth and attached to “pontic”, which is the term used for artificial tooth.
In contrast to these two kinds of bridges, a resin-bonded bridge does not require much preparation of surrounding teeth. This kind of bridge is usually used to replace your front teeth. Your gums need to be healthy and the adjacent teeth should not have extensive dental fillings in case you opt for a resin-bonded bridge.
Consultation & Planning
Once it is clearly decided that you are a good candidate for a dental bridge, you would be required to choose between different materials that can be made use of in the dental laboratory for creating your restoration. However, the availability of material will solely depend upon the placement of bridge in your mouth, your habit of grinding or clenching the teeth, your affordability and other such factors which would be outlined by your dentist. The commonly used materials include a combination of porcelain and metal (gold) or metal-free materials like alumina or zirconia.
X-rays and impressions of the teeth, which require a bridge, would be taken. Preoperative photographs would also be taken. All of these would be used for planning an ideal bridge restoration for you. Your bridge could consist of three or more units depending on the number of consecutive teeth that are missing. The two crowns are cemented to the teeth adjacent to the missing one (abutments). The one or more artificial teeth used to fill the space, as said earlier, are called pontics. After your dentist has prepared your abutment teeth for the bridge, additional dental impressions may be taken.
Your dentist would first examine your oral cavity, gums and teeth to determine whether or not you are a good candidate for dental bridge. In case you passed this evaluation, you would be given a local anesthetic at proper places in the gums. Then, your dentist will start preparing the teeth which are required to support the dental bridge. Then, in case these adjacent teeth are broken down or badly decayed, the dentist would first start building them back up before these can act as a supporting teeth for your dental bridge.
The next step is taking an impression of these prepared teeth with the help of a certain material used in dentistry. This is a putty-like material by the help of which dentists create models of your teeth. A skilled lab technician then fabricates your bridge based on this model in order to precisely fit the prepared teeth. Your restoration should fit perfectly in order to avoid any other dental health problems like tooth decay.
Until your permanent bridge is ready, your dentist fits the missing tooth space with a temporary bridge. This bridge would be taken out by the time the fabrication of your permanent bridge is over. You would have to return to the dentist’s clinic the second time to have the bridge properly fitted as well as cemented.
After dental bridge treatment
You would be provided with hygiene information from your dentist once your dental bridge has been properly cemented into place. In order to maintain the longevity and performance of your restoration, as well as the health of your gums and teeth, you would have to strictly follow these dentist’s recommendations. A special type of bridge floss threader is available in the market which will allow you to thoroughly and properly floss all the areas around your bridge and also between the underlying gum tissue and the pontic. You would be required to use it daily in order to prevent the building-up of bacteria and plaque in and around your gums. At least twice a day, you would have to properly brush with a toothpaste containing fluoride.
At lot of factors determine the cost of your dental bridges. These include the geographic location of your dentist, the potential need for any additional procedures in case one or two of the adjacent teeth are decayed or broken down, the skill and technique of the laboratory technician and your dentist, the preparation of your teeth involved in bridge procedure, the type of material which is used in the bridge and the total coverage provided by your dental insurance plan.
Based on these factors, the price for the dental bridges ranges from $750 to $1,500 per tooth. Your dental bridges can last for many years if you take care of your dental hygiene and pay regular visits to your dentist’s clinic for regular oro-dental checkups. In case, your dental insurance policy does not cover your treatment plan, or you simply don’t have a dental insurance, you may enlist the services like CareCredit or Capital One or any other third party financing services. Your dental bridges provide you a beautiful and confident smile for a long time because it has been observed that the usual age of dental bridges is more than 10-20 years.