It can happen, for many reasons, that a tooth or some teeth are lost. Having a gap can not only impede on your self-esteem but having missing teeth could mean that some teeth can move, which can lead to chewing and biting issues.
A dental solution that your dentist could suggest is a dental bridge. A dental bridge consists of one or two fabricated crowns, which will go over the teeth or the implants, either side of the gap. These act as dental bridge anchors, with a false tooth to fill the gap.
The fabricated crowns are made in dental laboratories and will match your own teeth to make them look as realistic as possible. In some cases, these crowns or false teeth are not made of porcelain, but out of alloys, gold or a combination of these materials.
Your dentist can select between three main types of dental bridges. These include:
- Traditional bridges the dentist will make use of a crown for the teeth or implants either side of the gap with a false tooth in between them. Commonly, the bridges are made of either porcelain fused onto metal or ceramics.
- Your dentist will use cantilever bridges if there is only teeth on the one side of the gap. This sort of dental bridge is not used much, since it is weak. It will also not be used to the back of the mouth as it can be damage during chewing.
- Another option your dentist can suggest is a resin-bonded bridge, also called a Maryland bridge. This dental bridge is made of porcelain fused to metal, porcelain, or even plastic teeth that are supported on a metal or porcelain frame.
The process of getting a dental bridge
This is an invasive procedure in that parts of your healthy teeth that will form the anchors will need to be prepared. Parts of those teeth will be removed to make space for crown to attach too.
After some of the enamel has been removed, impression of the teeth will be made. The dental laboratory will then make the temporary model that includes the bridge, the false tooth and crowns. This temporary bridge will be applied while the same laboratory makes you your new permanent bridge.
You will then need to return to your dentist, once the bridge is completed. The dentist will then fit the bridge by cementing it in place, and check if the bridge fits perfectly. You should know that it could be that you might have to return several times, until the fit is 100% correctly.
Recovery time for this procedure
Getting dental bridges can be a lengthy process, since you will need to wait for the bridges to be made, and there are painful procedures at each of the different stages, the recovery time is rather lengthy, but it is still manageable.
During the first visit, when the anchor teeth are prepared you will experience some pain for which your dentist will prescribe painkillers. This pain will fade away after a few days.
After the temporary and then the final bridges are fitted, you might have problems eating. Best is to eat soft food. But make sure you are eating a healthy diet of soup, or cut your food into small piece. The reason why a healthy diet is important is since this will speed up your recovery.
Possible complications you might experience after this procedure
The life span of a dental bridge is roughly 5 to 15 years. Bad dental health will reduce the time span, and proper dental care, with regular dental check-ups can extend the life span of your bridges.
Dental bridges have some issues. These can be that they are not removable, so it makes it difficult to keep clean. In addition, when the bridge is attached, some of your own teeth’s enamel will be removed, which cannot be replaced. More problematic is that the bridge will be dependent on the teeth it is attached too. If for some reason those teeth decay, your bridge will collapse. It is therefore important that you go for regular check-ups, since the cleaning is difficult, your risk for decay around the bridges are higher, which means that you have a high risk that the adjoining teeth will decay.