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Dental Bridges

Reasons to Have One, What to Expect, Associated Risks & More

4 Reasons Why You Would Need Dental Bridges

1. Missing teeth

A dental bridge is so named because it bridges a gap between teeth after you have lost one or more of your own.[1] If you are missing one or more teeth, you might want to consider getting a dental bridge.

2. Dental issues

Having missing teeth can create a number of dental issues, such as problems with chewing, your bite, or your teeth beginning to move out of their correct positions.[2]

3. Physical issues

You might start to notice that your speech patterns change when you lose a tooth or teeth, making it hard to speak or pronounce certain words. Depending on your situation, this can be extremely inconvenient. Other physical problems can arise from missing teeth as well. For example, the shape of your face can even change over time if missing teeth are left uncorrected.

4. Confidence

Missing teeth can make you feel less confident in your smile and, over time, in yourself. You might start to feel like you don’t look the way you used to because your face shape has changed or because your missing teeth make you self-conscious. Getting a dental bridge can help bypass these issues and allow you to look the way you feel you should.

5. Comfort

Having missing teeth can be uncomfortable, even if it doesn’t cause the problems mentioned above. It can make chewing a chore, causing you to bite your tongue, or it can simply create uncomfortable issues in your mouth. Getting a dental bridge can be a good option for creating a pleasant, easy smile, free from minor to severe annoyances.

Understanding Dental Bridges

Three different types of dental bridges exist, and it’s likely that one of these will be more effective for your mouth than the others. A traditional dental bridge involves making a crown for the teeth on either side of the missing teeth or tooth and placing a pontic, or artificial tooth on a fixed partial denture, between them.[1] This is the most common type of dental bridge. It is usually made out of metal that has been fused to porcelain so the teeth look natural.

The other two other types of dental bridges are called Maryland bonded bridges or resin-bonded bridges and cantilever bridges. Maryland bonded bridges are usually bonded to only one side of the teeth around your gap and are made of porcelain, plastic, or porcelain and metal fused together. Cantilever bridges are used when there are only adjacent teeth on one side of the gap. These are the least common dental bridges.

Another option is called the implant-supported dental bridge, which uses dental implants instead of crowns.[2] It is probably the strongest option, although it is very expensive and requires multiple treatments before it will be fully implanted.

During your first visit, the remaining teeth will be prepared for the dental bridge.[1] The dentist will need to remove some of the enamel from the teeth to ready them for the crown. After that, the dentist will make impressions of the teeth so that the bridge can be individually created at a dental lab. You will probably receive a temporary bridge to protect the area while you wait for the permanent bridge to be made.

The second visit will see the removal of the temporary bridge and the implantation of the actual bridge. You might need more than one visit to ensure that the fit is right. Once the bridge has been placed, you will need to return in a few weeks to have it permanently cemented in your mouth.

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Risks of Getting Dental Bridges

1. Damage to teeth

As with any medical procedure, there are certain risks involved. Your anchor teeth might start to decay after they have been filed down, or your dental bridge can wear down over time, causing damage to the teeth around it.[3] Sometimes, getting a dental bridge can make your other teeth more fragile, and the bridge itself may become fragile, causing chipping and fractures to occur.

2. Loose teeth

In some cases, the teeth supporting the bridge or the bridge itself can become loose. You might lose your teeth or your bridge if this occurs.

3. Gum disease

Those who do have a dental bridge are actually at a higher risk of gum disease than those who do not.[3] Therefore, it is important to be on the lookout for the signs of gum disease.

What to Expect with Dental Bridges

1. Safer and healthier

It’s true that there are certain risks associated with dental bridges. However, in most cases, it is safer to choose this option than to let large gaps remain in your teeth. In some situations, like with one missing tooth at the back of your mouth, a different option may be better, and you should be prepared to discuss this with your dentist.

2. Home dental care

Make sure to take care of your teeth and your dental bridge by practicing healthy dental care at home. Brush your teeth twice a day, floss once a day, and use mouthwash daily. You can clean between and beneath your bridge with a number of tools available at the grocery store, such as floss, brushes, or toothpicks. Make sure you visit your dentist regularly for teeth cleaning and examination; also, avoid eating hard foods that could crack your dental bridge.[4]

Questions to Ask Your Dentist About Your Dental Bridges

  • Which dental bridge option is best for me?
  • How much will my dental bridge cost with or without insurance?
  • How can I take care of my dental bridge at home?
  • How many visits do you anticipate I will need before my dental bridge is fully fitted?

Dental Bridges May Also be Known as:

  • Bridge
  • Traditional bridge
  • Cantilever bridge
  • Implant-supported bridge
  • Maryland dental bridge

References

4 Sources

Solv has strict sourcing guidelines and relies on peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions, and medical associations. We avoid using tertiary references.