As the name implies, dental bridges are used to “bridge the gap” between missing teeth. Crowns are placed on the teeth that sit on each side of the gap. These teeth serve as the anchor, or support, for the new false teeth. The false teeth used in this procedure may be made from alloys, porcelain or a number of other materials.
Bridges can be used to replace one tooth or multiple teeth, depending on the patient’s needs. In some cases, bridges are supported by implants rather than natural teeth. If you are considering this procedure to replace missing teeth, you should first understand what types of dental bridges are available, how the procedure is performed and the benefits that bridges offer.
Types of Dental Bridges Available
At this point in time, there are three different types of dental bridges available to patients. These include:
• Removable bridge: Also known as a removable partial denture, this type of bridge is created using plastic gums and teeth. A metal or plastic framework is used as support. Metal or plastic hooks wrap around your remaining teeth and hold the bridge in place, usually very firmly so it will not come out with eating or other activities. It is also easily cleaned with a tooth brush and a good rinse. These removable bridges are especially good if you have many missing teeth and are the most affordable option.
• Fixed dental bridge: This is sometimes referred to as a fixed partial denture. This is primarily because once the bridge has been put into place; it cannot be removed without the help of a dental professional. In order for a fixed dental bridge to be implemented, the patient must have natural teeth or implants on each side of the gap.
• Cantilever dental bridge: These bridges are used when the patient only has natural teeth on one side of the missing teeth or tooth. They are a great alternative for those who cannot have traditional bridges implemented. Many people prefer cantilever dental bridges simply because they do not come out and are more aesthetically pleasing than the removable bridge.
A Closer Look at the Fixed Dental Bridge or Cantilever Procedure
This procedure is one that could require several dental appointments to complete, but often can be done in two or three visits. Upon your first visit, the abutment teeth will be prepared. This process is relatively simple and straightforward. The teeth will be reshaped and a portion of the enamel will be removed. The goal is to ensure that there is enough room for the bridge to fit into the mouth comfortably.
During your first appointment, impressions will also be taken of your teeth. These impressions will be used to help create the pontic (portion of the dental bridge that replaces the missing tooth), bridge and the crowns. Before you leave, your dentist will create a temporary bridge that will protect your exposed teeth while your permanent bridge is being created.
The temporary bridge will be removed during your second appointment and will be replaced by your new permanent bridge. The dentist will check to ensure that the bridge fits properly and make any needed adjustments. Occasionally, it may require several visits to ensure a proper fit and bite, but usually is permanently cemented on the second visit.
The Advantages of Having Dental Bridge Work Performed
There are many advantages to dental bridges. These include:
• Improved oral health
• Smile restoration
• Improved speech and chewing
• Prevention of shifting teeth
• Improved bite
• Preservation of face shape and tone
• Prevention of TMJ and other jaw disorders. Most patients would agree that the greatest benefit to this procedure is that they are finally able to smile without feeling self-conscious. Bridges can not only restore your natural brilliant smile, but can also provide you with a great confidence boost.
I’m Dr. Scott Williams and I practice family and cosmetic dentistry in Greeley CO. We also serve the Eaton, Windsor, Evans and Kersey CO. If you are missing one or more teeth, dental bridges are an excellent option. The first step in the process to restoring your missing teeth is to speak with your dentist about this procedure. Only your dentist will be able to determine whether or not you are a good candidate for dental bridges.
Book an appointment with Dr. Scott Williams, to see if dental bridges are right for you.