Bridge prosthesis: types, advantages, disadvantages.

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A dental bridge is a permanent appliance that replaces a missing tooth or missing teeth. It is made up of several pieces that come together to fit into the open space where your tooth or teeth used to be .

Dental bridges are an alternative to partial dentures . They serve both practical and cosmetic purposes, allowing you to eat and speak better and restore the appearance of your teeth.

The bridge can be made of a number of different materials, such as gold, alloys, or porcelain. Porcelain is most often chosen when an anterior tooth is replaced because it can match the color of your natural tooth.

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Types of bridges

The artificial teeth that are used in bridges are called bridges. You will have a bridge for each missing tooth that is similar in shape and size to the missing tooth.

Bridges are attached to a tooth or teeth near a gap (called abutment teeth) or to a dental implant . The four main types of bridges include :

  1. Conventional Fixed Bridge – This is the most common type of bridge. Includes a crown on each side of the pontics.
  2. Maryland dental bridge or resin bonded bridge – Often used to replace anterior teeth. Instead of crowns, porcelain or metal frameworks with "wings" are used, which are attached to the back of the teeth on both sides of the gap.
  3. Implant- supported bridge: One implant for each missing tooth is surgically implanted into the jaw bone in a single procedure. The bridge, which contains intermediate links, is installed on top of them later.
  4. Cantilever bridge: no longer used. When a natural tooth is on only one side of the space, the bridge (s) are anchored by a single crown on that natural tooth.

Benefits of dental bridges

Dental bridges can provide many benefits, including :

  • Restoration of the natural appearance of the mouth / smile.
  • Restoration of the ability to speak normally, as missing teeth can interfere with correct pronunciation.
  • Maintain a normal facial structure by preventing bone loss from the jaw instead of the missing tooth / teeth
  • Restore the ability to chew food effectively
  • Preventing adjacent teeth from moving into empty spaces, which can cause bite problems and other complications.

Disadvantages of dental bridges.

Bridges also have some disadvantages, such as :

  • Damage to the abutment teeth in the future can lead to bridge damage.
  • If the crowns are poorly fitted, bacteria and plaque can enter and cause cavities.
  • Crowns can change the structure of your teeth, which can affect your bite.
  • If the abutment teeth are not strong enough to support the bridge, the bridge can collapse.
  • Abutment teeth can be weakened by the procedure (s) and must be replaced with dental implants.

Are you a good candidate?

Not all are suitable for bridge placement. Factors that make you a good candidate include:

  • One or more permanent teeth are missing
  • General good health (no serious illnesses, infections, or other health problems)
  • Have healthy teeth and strong bone tissue to support the bridge.
  • Good oral health
  • Compliance with oral hygiene standards to maintain the condition of the bridge.

You and your dentist should discuss these factors before deciding if a bridge is right for you.

Get a bridge

The Maryland bridge requires fewer visits than other types of bridges because there is no need to prepare the abutment teeth. For the other three types, you will need to complete at least two procedures, and this process can be lengthy.

Regardless of the type of bridge, expect your dentist to take digital impressions or scans of your teeth, which the lab will use to shape the bridge components.

Traditional or cantilever bridge

The first step in obtaining a traditional fixed or cantilevered dental bridge is to prepare the abutment / teeth. The dentist will remove some of the enamel and dentin from the abutment teeth to make room for the crowns.

They will then place a temporary bridge through these teeth to protect them until the bridge is in place.

At a later appointment, the dentist:

  • Remove temporary crowns
  • Check the correct seating of the permanent crowns and bridge.
  • Cement the bridge in place

Sometimes the bridge is permanently attached during this procedure. In other cases, your dentist may choose a temporary cement so that he can take the time to make sure it fits properly before it becomes permanent .

Maryland Bridge

For a Maryland bridge, all you have to do with the abutment teeth is slightly etch the back so the wings will adhere to them.

After verifying that the fit is correct, the dentist:

  • Put a bridge
  • Attach metal wings to abutment teeth with durable resin.
  • Cure the resin

Implant bridge

An implant-supported bridge requires surgery to place the implants in the jaw with subsequent healing. The healing time is highly dependent on the location of the implants in the mouth and whether or not the jaw needs to be augmented to support the implants.

You may need to use a temporary bridge between treatments.

Then the dentist will have another procedure to install a permanent bridge over the implants. In this case, small incisions are made in the gum, so the healing time is longer than with other types of bridges.

Dental Bridge Care

Dental bridges are considered "permanent" because they cannot be removed like dentures, but they do not last forever. The average lifespan of a bridge is five to seven years, but with proper care, some bridges can last more than ten years. Advances in materials and techniques are likely to make them even more robust in the future .

However, how you care for your bridge can have a big impact on how long it lasts.

Make it last

Good oral hygiene is important to keep your remaining teeth strong and healthy, and to maintain a long and healthy life for your bridge. As with your natural teeth, it is important to brush the bridge and floss at least twice. every day.

Your dentist or dental hygienist will demonstrate how to properly floss and clean around your new bridge. It's also important to visit your dentist regularly to brush your teeth and get checkups .

Diet changes

Some foods need to be avoided for a long time because they can cause bridge or abutment problems. These include :

  • Gummies / gummy candies (which can remove crowns from abutment teeth)
  • Lollipops or snacks
  • Sweet foods (to prevent cavities under crowns)
  • Popcorn
  • Walnuts

You will need to keep a close eye on what you eat for a while after the bridge is installed. Make sure you know what to eat and what not to eat in the days after your procedure, and follow your dentist's advice.

Get the word of drug information

While there are pros and cons to having a bridge, research has shown that with good oral hygiene and regular visits to the dentist, a bridge can be a long-term solution to missing teeth.

However, every situation and every person is different, and various factors influence who is right for them. Talk to your dentist about your options to decide whether to get a bridge and, if so, which type is right for you.

Frequently asked questions

  • A cantilevered bridge is a type of dental bridge. In it, a bridge (artificial tooth) is connected to an abutment tooth (metal connector). This type of bridge is not so common anymore, but it was used for people who had teeth on only one side of the space.

  • In many cases, a Maryland dental bridge (resin bonded bridge) is used when a person has missing front teeth. This bridge uses porcelain fused to a metal frame that bonds to existing teeth.

  • A traditional bridge will probably require two visits. During the first visit, your abutment teeth will be prepared and impressions (digital scans) of your teeth will be taken. A temporary bridge will be delivered while the dental lab creates the final bridge. During the second visit, the temporary bridge will be replaced with the last dental bridge. Adjustments made to ensure that the jersey is comfortable.

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