A procedure that does more than simply improve the look of a smile, dental bridges fill in gaps where teeth are missing, which can also greatly improve the ability to chew and speak. In addition, dental bridges, and any procedure that is used to fill in missing teeth, can help to reshape the face and decrease bite stress and the potential for gum disease.
Essentially, a dental bridge is an artificial tooth, commonly placed between two crowns in order to fill in a gap that is left by an absent tooth or teeth. In the event that your cosmetic dentist chooses a dental bridge to correct your smile, the procedure is a fairly simple one that can be completed in a few visits to the dentist.
Initially, your dentist will begin by preparing the teeth on either side of the gap that is to be filled. An impression is then made for reference to how the bridge, false tooth or teeth and crowns should be constructed by a dental laboratory.
During the time that the lab is creating the dental bridge and crowns, most patients are fitted with a temporary bridge or flipper device. Not only does the flipper help patients feel more comfortable as they are waiting for the more permanent bridge to be completed, it serves to protect teeth and gums as well.
On the second visit, the temporary bridge or flipper is removed and the permanent bridge is placed and adjusted for any bite problems. The bridge is then cemented to the crowns that were applied to the two teeth that surround the gap.
Depending on the extent of the problems to be fixed, a dentist or cosmetic dentist can choose between three kinds of dental bridges, a traditional fixed bridge, a cantilever bridge, or a resin bonded bridge.
A traditional fixed bridge is a false tooth that is cemented between two teeth that are commonly crowned or capped. Fixed bridges can be used to replace one or more teeth, and can only be removed by a dentist as opposed to removable partial dentures.
Cantilever bridges are used in areas of the mouth where there is less bite stress, like the front teeth. In these cases, the false tooth is anchored to one side over one or more natural and adjacent teeth.
Resin bonded bridges are most commonly used for front teeth. Though the procedure is less expensive than other bridge options, it can only be considered when the abutment teeth are healthy and have either no fillings or rather small ones. The artificial tooth is bonded to metal bands that are then cemented to surrounding teeth with hidden resin. In cases where resin bonded bridges are used, less preparation is needed for adjacent teeth.
No matter what type of bridge is used, the success of the procedure is dependent on the health of remaining teeth. It is vital to make sure that after having a dental bridge fitted good oral hygiene and habits are practiced.