A bridge is a prosthetic dental device used for the purpose of replacing missing natural teeth with artificial teeth. The artificial teeth are designed to resemble natural teeth in both form and function. Because tooth loss can result in the loss of the ability to speak clearly and to properly chew your food as well as interfere with your appearance, it’s important to pursue options such as bridges if you’re missing one or more teeth. Missing teeth can also increase your risk of developing gum disease, and studies have shown that this potential risk can be significantly reduced by using a bridge. Here’s what you need to know about bridges:
Types of Dental Bridges
Bridges are either permanently attached or removable. Otherwise called ‘fixed bridges,’ permanently attached bridges are affixed in place using dental cement to the abutment teeth. They are either bonded directly to these teeth or to crowns that are placed over these teeth. The attachments process can take up to three visits to complete depending on the specifics of the situation. The first step is to prepare the abutment teeth for the procedure. On the next visit, your dentist will take an impression of the abutment tooth or teeth to use as a mold for the artificial teeth — it is important that they match the abutment teeth as closely as possible in size or shape. After the artificial teeth have been produced by a dental lab, your dentist will affix them to the abutment teeth or their crowns. Most people who get dental bridges opt for this type of bridge.
Removable bridges can be taken out and cleaned using the same process you’d use to care for a removable set of full dentures. These bridges are attached to the abutment teeth with precision attachments, which is why they are also known as ‘precision bridge.’ Removable bridges are best for those who don’t have much bone material in the jaw. Your dentist can help you decide which type of bridge would be better for you.
Materials Used in Bridgework
Bridges can be constructed from a variety of materials. The most common include porcelain, non-precious metal alloys, and gold alloys. Most bridges involve combinations of these materials, with one of the most popular being porcelain bonded to metal.
Caring for a Dental Bridge
Practicing proper oral hygiene is essential after you get a bridge because both types of bridges depend on the surrounding teeth to provide support; this is why we highly recommend you continue to include brushing and flossing as a part of your regular routine. If you’ve got a fixed bridge, your dentist will recommend a specialized nylon floss designed for use on this type of bridge.
Removable bridges should be taken out and cleaned on a nightly basis and should not be worn overnight.
You should also consume a balanced diet with a nutritional emphasis and avoid sugary beverages and snacks. Use a straw for things such as sweet teas or soda to cut down on the amount of contact your teeth have with sugar.
Please feel free to schedule an appointment today for more information on which kind of bridge would best suit your individual needs and preferences.