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Dental bridges are a common restoration for missing teeth. A bridge has a false tooth that fills the space from a missing tooth. The bridges attach to natural teeth on both sides of the missing teeth or teeth. This forms a literal bridge from the neighbouring natural tooth to the next tooth.
Some people opt for dental bridges instead of dentures. A bridge helps restore the complete teeth function such as eating and speaking. It also prevents cosmetic issues as the teeth shift to fill the gap from the missing teeth.
The three common dental bridges include:
In a traditional bridge, the replacement tooth sits between two crowns. The tooth material is usually porcelain fused with metal or ceramic.
These are plastic replacement teeth fitted with metal wings bonded to the natural teeth on both sides. The Maryland bridge is similar to resin-bonded bridges.
A cantilever bridge is similar to traditional bridges, but the dentist bonds the bridge to the tooth adjacent to the gap.
Fitting dental bridges usually require two dental visits. At the first visit, the dentist take impressions for the permanent bridge. During the second visit, the dentist will remove the temporary bridge and fit a permanent one.
The dentist will examine its fit to know if any adjustment is necessary.
Like other dental procedures, fitting a dental bridge procedure can have complications. Dental bridges function like natural teeth but aren’t your natural teeth and have certain limitations.
Consulting a dentist is important if you want to get a dental bridge. You need a custom-made bridge to fill the gap left by a missing tooth. An ill-fitted bridge causes discomfort; over time, the false tooth will irritate the gums, leading to infection, boils and receding gums around the bridge.
Ensure you contact your dentist if you experience the slightest irritation or issues with how your bridge fits to prevent the issue from becoming more serious.
If you have dental bridges, maintaining good oral hygiene is important. Many patients with bridges experience tooth decay on the tooth the crown is fitted. This makes the tooth, serving as the foundation for your bridge, unstable.
Practising good oral hygiene, such as brushing your teeth twice daily, flossing, and visiting the dentist regularly, will keep your natural teeth and bridge in good condition.
Sensitivity in the teeth and gums on the side of your bridge can occur in the first few weeks after placing the bridge. This sensitivity is present as your mouth gets used to the bridge. However, consult your dentist if the sensitivity persists for over two weeks. This may result from complications of an ill-fitting bridge.
The common materials for dental bridges are metal, ceramic or porcelain combinations. These materials are prone to damage, and avoiding hard or sticky foods is best to prevent damaging your bridge.
If the bridge structure gets damaged, replacing it is necessary to prevent oral issues like gum disease or infection.
Although this rarely occurs, the teeth holding a bridge can become cracked. Even a small crack can lead to several issues, the most common being sensitivity. An untreated crack can let bacteria into the inner tooth structure, causing infection in the pulp and gums.
Some issues with dental bridges are unavoidable, like an ill-fitting bridge or a cracked tooth, because they usually occur from the procedure, not how you care for your bridge. However, you can avoid other issues by cleaning your dental bridge daily.