Dental bridge are prostheses used to replace a missing tooth. A teeth replacement bridge looks like a set of teeth of any required number. The use of dental bridges is one of the few methods used to replace broken or missing teeth. A dental bridge consists of 2 parts – a pontic and retainers. A pontic is a section that replaces the missing tooth/teeth and the retainers are the crowns placed on the existing teeth on either side of the missing tooth for anchorage. Finally, the pontic's placed on top of the gum line and does not make contact with the jawbone. It is important to know that the use of dental bridges is not a permanent solution and the bridges are replaced every 5-15 years depending on the oral hygiene and dental care routine.
TYPES OF DENTAL BRIDGE
What is a traditional bridge?
Initially, these are the most basic and commonly used dental bridges. In this procedure, the missing tooth is replaced by the bridge with the help of the adjacent teeth to support it. The adjacent teeth on both sides of the missing tooth are reduced in size by grinding to make room for the artificial crowns to be placed on top. A 3-unit bridge is made of two artificial crowns on the sides and a whole artificial tooth in the middle. The bridge is fixed on top of the two supporting teeth and the artificial tooth in the middle replaces the missing tooth. The bridge stays fixed in this method.
These bridges are similar to the traditional bridges. However, in this case, the missing tooth is replaced with the support of just one adjacent tooth. Instead of grinding two adjacent teeth for the crown placement, only a single tooth next to the missing tooth is reduced in size and the bridge is fixed on to the supporting tooth. Besides, this is a 2-unit bridge made of an artificial crown and an artificial tooth. The Cantilever bridge provides minute movement to the artificial tooth which might be helpful for chewing. The Cantilever bridge is suggested to the patient only in specific situations.
Like the traditional bridges, Maryland bridges use the support of two adjacent teeth to replace the missing tooth. However, in this procedure, the adjacent teeth are not reduced in size to make room for the crown. Instead, the missing tooth is connected to the adjacent teeth with the help of a framework. In this case, there is a single unit bridge made of a single artificial tooth with frameworks on each side which are attached to the backs of the adjacent teeth. Fherefore,this framework is made of metal or porcelain.
Implant-supported dental bridge
These bridges are similar to dental implants and are suggested in cases where no adjacent teeth are available to support the artificial tooth. In this procedure, dental implants are implanted into the jawbone in such a way that they act as supporting teeth. In this case, a 3-unit bridge is used. The crowns are fixed onto the implants along with the artificial tooth. This procedure takes more time to complete as the implants must be taken up by the bone before the placement of the bridges. It can take up to 6 months to 1 year.
ADVANTAGES OF DENTAL BRIDGES
Dental bridges are an effective solution to tooth loss problems. This helps to restore the teeth' functions such as chewing and speaking. It causes little to no discomfort and act as a perfect replacement for your natural teeth. They eliminate the risk of bone loss and maintain the bone structure. Moreover, this prevents the remaining teeth from shifting which may lead to further problems. The Bridges are permanently fixed, unlike dentures. Thus, they are more affordable when compared to Dental implants.
DISADVANTAGES OF DENTAL BRIDGES
· Sometimes, An improper bridge can lead to gum recession in the place of the missing tooth. It can cause tooth decay problems or mobility due to gum recession of the supporting teeth which, if left untreated, can require root canal treatment or removal of the tooth along with the bridge.
· Naturally healthy teeth are grinded and reduced to support the bridge.
· The dental bridge can collapse if the adjacent teeth are not strong enough to support the bridge.
· They are not a permanent fix and eventually need to be replaced, unlike dental implants.