Varieties of dental bridges
There are three main varieties of dental bridge that may be recommended to you depending on where in your mouth the missing teeth are located.
A traditional bridge is the most commonly recommended treatment for missing teeth. As we described above, it involves creating crowns to go on the teeth either side of the gap which act as anchors for the pontic which sits in-between them. Traditional bridges are usually made from porcelain that has been fused to ceramic or metal.
Resin bonded bridges
Also sometimes referred to as a Maryland bonded bridge, this type of bridge can be supplied in a variety of material including porcelain fused to metal, complete porcelain or sometimes plastic teeth and gums that are supported by a porcelain or metal framework. The wings found on each side of the bridge, usually made from metal or porcelain, are securely bonded to your natural teeth.
Probably the least common variety, cantilever bridges are used when there is only existing teeth on one side of the gap that can be anchored to. In the past there have been problems with cantilever bridges being used in the back of the mouth as they were found to exert too much pressure on the anchor tooth, causing damage and even breakages.
What will happen during the procedure to get a dental bridge?
A dental bridge will require at least two visits to your dentist.
During the first visit with your doctor, he will carry out a thorough examination of your teeth. After receiving a local anesthetic, your doctor will prepare the abutment teeth by filing away some of the enamel in order to make your tooth small enough for the crown to sit over it, hiding it completely. Then he will take impressions of your teeth which will be used as a guide for the dental lab that will be making your crowns, pontic and bridge, so that it is a perfect fit. Finally, the abutment teeth and gap will be covered with a temporary bridge to protect them while the final bridge is being created.
When your bridge is ready you will be invited back in to see the doctor who will remove your temporary cover and fit your new smile. This may require multiple visits in order to ensure that the cover and fit is absolutely perfect. If your bridge is to eventually be cemented in place permanently, your dentist will probably suggest a ‘trial run’. This is where they are implanted with a temporary adhesive to check that they are completely comfortable before securing them in place with a permanent cement.
Looking after your dental bridge
With proper care and attention, your dental bridge could last as long as twenty years! You should continue with a thorough oral hygiene routine including brushing, flossing and mouthwash, and try to avoid particularly chewy foods or cuts of meat as these will put additional strain on your bridge.