What are Dental Bridges?
A dental bridge is a custom made appliance that is placed over tooth or implants to cover it and bridge the adjacent gap created by one or more missing teeth.
Gaps can lead to poor appearance and may also affect your speech, eating and limit the food you may consume. Dental bridge is one popular way to solve this problem.
You and your dentist will discuss the best options for your particular case. The “traditional bridge” is the most popular type and is usually made of porcelain fused to metal. This type of bridge consists to two crowns that go over two anchoring teeth (abutment teeth) and are attached to pontics (artificial teeth), filling the gap created by one or more missing teeth.
Dental bridges are highly durable and will last many years, however they may need replacement or need to be re-cemented due to normal wear.
Reasons for getting Dental Bridge:
- Fill space of missing teeth.
- Maintain facial shape.
- Prevent remaining teeth from drifting out of position.
- Restore chewing and speaking ability.
- Restore your smile.
- Upgrade from a removable partial denture to a permanent dental appliance.
What does getting a fixed Dental Bridge involve?
Getting a bridge usually requires two or more visits. While the teeth are numb, the two anchoring teeth are prepared by removing a portion of enamel to allow for a crown. Next, a highly accurate impression (mold) is made which will be sent to a dental laboratory where the bridge will be fabricated. In addition, a temporary bridge will be made and worn for several weeks until your next appointment.
At the second visit, you permanent bridge will be carefully checked, adjusted, and cemented to achieve a proper fit. Occasionally your dentist may only temporarily cement the bridge, allowing your teeth and tissue time to get used to the new bridge. The new bridge will be permanently cemented at a later time.
You will receive care instructions at the conclusion of the procedure. Proper brushing, flossing and regular dental visits will aid in the life of your new permanent bridge.
Dental Bridges are almost a form of denture that can replace one or a few teeth if they have to be removed or are knocked out. The surrounding teeth provide a platform for the bridge to be attached to, making them very secure. Crowns are placed on the teeth near to the bridge to anchor the replica tooth, (also known as a pontic), in place. Missing teeth can make a big difference to your:
- Appearance. Noticeable gaps can be very off-putting and can lead to confidence problems.
- Speech. Gaps in your teeth that haven’t always been there may cause your speech to alter, such as creating a lisp that wasn’t there previously.
- Oral health. Having a gap in your teeth can place the surrounding teeth under greater strain as well as causing orthodontic problems and issues with food debris becoming lodged in the gap.
Maryland bridges are made of a special resin and a metal frame that has wings that are cemented on to the enamel of the surrounding teeth to hold the bridge in place. With a Maryland Bridge the teeth surrounding the gap don’t need to have complete crowns and the wings of the structure are attached using a strong adhesive. This leaves teeth undisturbed, and allows the bridge to be fitted quickly with minimal damage to the surrounding area. The dentin of the surrounding teeth needs not to be exposed, allowing your teeth to continue as they are with no increase in tooth sensitivity. Maryland Bridges are generally used for smaller gaps in your teeth towards the front of your mouth.
Maryland Bridge Procedure
Your dentist will need to make an impression of your teeth using dental putty that is then sent to a laboratory for yourMaryland Bridge to be custom made. It might be necessary to make some alterations to the surrounding teeth, such as removing a small area on the back of the surrounding teeth, and this will be done before the impressions are made. As well as making impressions your dentist will make a record of the exact colour of your teeth so that the bridge can be made to look as natural as possible.
It might take up to two weeks to get your Maryland Bridge made, and so you will have to wait and go back for a fitting. You may have the area numbed with a local anaesthetic, although more often than not this is not necessary, and the supporting teeth are prepared as your dentist shaves away small areas tooth to hold the adhesive. This may have previously been done if you have had a temporary bridge fitted.
Any necessary adjustments to the teeth or to the Maryland Bridge will be made; the bite and look of your teeth will be examined before your bridge is attached.
When you are both happy with the feel and the fit of the Maryland Bridge then it will be fastened permanently to the surrounding teeth using cement.
You will have a follow up appointment to ensure that the Maryland Bridge is fitted properly and that you are comfortable with the bridge.
Maryland Bridge Care
A Maryland Bridge can last over ten years if you take relevant care of it and maintain a good hygiene regime. The area needs to be cleaned on a regular basis alike to your natural teeth. It is important not to neglect the surrounding teeth as they provide an anchor to your bridge. It is possible that your dentist will provide you with special floss to promote cleanliness in the bridge area. Avoiding foods and drinks which are high in sugar content is also recommended, a healthy diet promotes a healthy mouth.
Maryland Bridge Advantages
- Less impact on the surrounding teeth – They are largely unaffected by a Maryland Bridge as there is no need to crown the surrounding teeth. This means there is less chance of any of your dentin being exposed, so you will have no increased sensitivity.
- Quick to fit – Easy to fit and adjust.
- No need for a local anaesthetic – There is generally no need to have a local anaesthetic when having a Maryland Bridge although if you have to have a root canal then a local anaesthetic will still be necessary.