A dental bridge can be used to close or bridge the missing gaps that are present between teeth. Essentially, a dental bridge is a false tooth (named pontic) which is held in place by the abutment teeth on either side of the gap. Pontics can be made from a variety of materials, gold being one of them, however, they are usually made from porcelain in order to allow them to aesthetically blend in with one’s natural teeth.
There are four main types of dental bridge:
The first is a traditional dental bridge. This consists of a false tooth or teeth being kept in place by dental crowns which have been cemented onto each of the abutment teeth. This is the most common type of dental bridge and can be used when one has natural teeth on both sides of the gap created by one’s missing tooth.
The second type is a cantilever dental bridge. This is similar to a traditional bridge, however the difference between them is that the pontic in a cantilever dental bridge is kept in place by a dental crown which is cemented to just one abutment tooth.
Thirdly, there is the Maryland dental bridge which uses two natural abutment teeth, one on each side of the gap. However, the difference between this and a traditional bridge is that a traditional bridge uses dental crowns on the abutment teeth, while a Maryland bridge uses a framework of either porcelain or metal which is bonded onto the backs of the abutment teeth. Lastly, there is the implant-supported dental bridge. This uses dental implants as supports in opposition to crowns, or frameworks. Usually, one implant is surgicallt placed for each missing tooth, and these implants serve the purpose of holding the bridge in position.
There are various risks associated with dental bridges. These include the possibility of tooth decay within the anchor teeth due to the teeth on either side of the bridge needing to be filed down in preparation for the abutment, making them more susceptible to tooth decay. Secondly, there can be damage to neighboring teeth as over time the dental bridge can become rough and can wear down the enamel of surrounding teeth which come into contact with the dental bridge. Patients with dental bridges are also at a higher risk of obtaining a gym disease, and can potentially lose their dental bridge of the anchor teeth becomes loose. Lastly, the abutment teeth and pontic can be fragile, and therefore, small fractures within the teeth can occur.
There are numerous benefits to dental bridges due to which they should be considered. First of all, they restore function to your mouth and allow one to chew and speak properly. Secondly, they prevent the misalignment of surrounding teeth. Dental bridges are easy to care for and maintain, and ultimately, they are also a long lasting treatment option with the potential of lasting for a period of more than ten years.
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