The dental bridge procedure is a type of restorative dental treatment for replacing any missing teeth. If you are having any teeth missing, your dentist can close or bridge the gaps in your smile with the help of dental bridges.
Basically, it is a kind of false tooth that is held in place by the abutment teeth on either side of the gap. They are generally made from porcelain to blend in with your natural teeth aesthetically, though in some cases, they can be made with a variety of materials such as gold.
If you are having a tooth or teeth missing, it can affect you in various ways. A dental bridge can help you with several changes, which includes:
- restoring your smile
- restoring your speech and pronunciation
- restoring your ability to chew properly
- helping you maintain the shape of your face
- Preventing any of your remaining teeth from moving out of the correct position
- re-adjusting your bite to properly distribute the force whiling chewing
Preparation & procedure
The first step in the dental bridge procedure is to assess the need for restorative dental treatment for replacing any missing teeth, and whether a dental bridge is a correct option. Sometimes, there are other restorative dental treatments that might be more appropriate, such as dental crowns and dental implants.
The dentist is going to examine the area and then take X-rays of the jaw for gaining a full understanding of the situation, and for making the best decision.
It is important for the dentist to discuss the best possible options with the patients.
Once the decision for a dental bridge has been finalized, the first dental appointment is going to involve preparing the abutment teeth for the crowns that will be holding the bridge in place.
The abutment teeth are prepared by removal of some of the enamel i.e. the outside layer of the teeth, in order to prepare room for the crown to be placed over them.
Next, an impression of the teeth is going to be taken using a soft material that the patient is going to bite into. This will leave an indentation of the teeth’s exact outline. After this is done, a plaster-like material is poured into the impressions to make a model of the teeth, in which the bridge is going to be made in the dental lab.
This indented model is used in the dental lab for making the permanent bridge. A temporary bridge is placed over the abutment teeth for protecting them until the permanent crown is constructed by the dental lab.
During your second visit to your dentist, the temporary crowns are removed, after which the permanent crowns are checked for proper fitting. Then they are fitted using a strong and permanent type of cement. Next, your dentist checks the crown to ensure that the patient’s bite is not very high and it is able to adjust accordingly. Next, the dentist may use temporary cement for affixing the permanent bridge, to allow some time to ensure a proper fit, before he/she cements the new bridge in place permanently.
Recovery and aftercare
Generally, dental bridges can last around five to seven years. With good oral hygiene and regular professional cleanings, it might even last over 10 years.
The success of the dental bridge also depends on the health as well as the strength of the remaining teeth. With a bridge, it is important to prevent tooth decay and gum disease that can lead to tooth loss. For proper tooth and gum care, you need to brush twice a day, at least, and floss daily.
See a dentist regularly so that he/she can help you detect problems early if there are any. It is also important for you to eat a balanced diet.
If you take proper care of your dental bridge, it can generally last several years without causing any complications. However, it may fail, if the cement deteriorates or if the surrounding teeth decay. But if the supporting teeth are still healthy and intact, then your provider can reattach the bridge using new cement, if it comes loose.