A dental bridge is a fixed dental restoration used to replace one or more missing teeth by bridging the gap between existing natural teeth or dental implants. It consists of one or more artificial teeth, known as pontics, that are anchored in place by dental crowns or abutments on either side of the gap.
Here are some key points about dental bridges:
- Types of Dental Bridges: There are different types of dental bridges, including traditional bridges, and implant-supported bridges. The most suitable type of bridge depends on factors such as the location of the missing teeth, the health of the surrounding teeth, and the patient’s specific needs.
- Procedure: The process of getting a dental bridge typically involves multiple dental visits. During the initial visit, the supporting teeth (abutment teeth) on either side of the gap are prepared by removing a portion of their enamel. Impressions of the teeth are then taken, which serve as a model for fabricating the bridge and pontics in a dental laboratory. While the permanent bridge is being made, a temporary bridge may be placed to protect the prepared teeth. In a subsequent visit, the temporary bridge is removed, and the custom-made bridge is carefully fitted and adjusted before being permanently cemented in place.
- Dental Bridge Materials: Dental bridges can be made from various materials, including porcelain fused to metal, all-ceramic or all-porcelain bridges, and zirconia or metal-free bridges. The choice of material depends on factors such as the location of the bridge, aesthetic preferences, and functional requirements.
- Benefits: Dental bridges offer several advantages. They help restore the ability to chew and speak properly, maintain facial shape and structure, prevent the remaining natural teeth from shifting out of position, and improve the overall appearance of the smile. Bridges are a non-removable restoration, providing a stable and permanent solution for replacing missing teeth.
- Oral Hygiene and Care: Proper oral hygiene is essential for maintaining the health and longevity of a dental bridge. Regular brushing, flossing, and routine dental check-ups are important to prevent decay and gum disease. Special care may be needed to clean under and around the bridge using floss threaders or interdental brushes.
- Longevity: With proper care, dental bridges can last for many years. However, their lifespan can vary depending on factors such as oral hygiene practices, the health of the supporting teeth, and general oral health.
It’s important to note that proper oral hygiene, regular dental check-ups, and maintenance of the bridge are essential to ensure its longevity and the health of the surrounding teeth and gums.