If you require a more extensive restoration than a crown or have more than one tooth that needs to be repaired, a good solution is a bridge.
Here is how they work:
Bridges are usually made of a precious metal base, which gives them a solid structure and makes them hard-wearing. If you need a bridge in your smile line, porcelain is usually added to the base to make it look more like real teeth.
A bridge helps to strengthen the prepared teeth and makes chewing and eating easier because they are fixed and can't come out.
Some bridges can also be fixed to your jaw with dental implants, if you have several teeth next to each other that are missing.
Dental Bridges for Front Teeth
A dental bridge replaces a missing tooth, your dentist will prepare the teeth either side of the gap in order to place the supporting crowns. These are supporting crowns have the new tooth attached to it, thereby bridging the entire space.
Up until approximately 10 years ago the only way to do this, and ensure its strength, was to use metal inside the bridge. Whilst this is still a very common technique modern updates in materials science have allowed your dentist and dental technician to manufacture the bridge from zirconium oxide and other metal free materials.
These metal free bridges have the advantage that the light can pass through them giving a translucency very similar to natural teeth, this ensures that the bridges on your front teeth look as natural as possible.
Types of Dental Bridges
There are primarily 3 different types of dental bridge:
Maryland bridge - this type of bridge has a wing on the inside of the adjacent teeth, this means that the adjacent teeth don't need to be trimmed down for supporting crowns. This can make Maryland bridges preferable as it maintains as much natural and healthy tooth structure as possible. They can however have a tendency to become loose in certain situations.
Cantilever bridge - this is where only a single supporting to is prepared on one side of the gap. This is only possible if there is a single tooth to replace. It's also only possible to do if the supporting crowns is on a tooth with good oral hygiene and on a tooth with a long anatomical route, such as a canine or back tooth.
Traditional bridge - this type of bridge is often used to replace multiple missing teeth, to supporting crowns either side of the gap can often be used to replace 3 missing teeth.
Dental Bridges vs Implant
Both dental bridges and dental implants have the same purpose, to replace missing teeth. The advantage of a dental bridge is that it is often cheaper in the short-term, however the disadvantage of a bridge is that it will require some removal of possibly healthy tooth structure on the supporting crowns either side of the gap(s).
Dental implants, on the other hand, can be more expensive in the short term. However they come with the distinct advantage that they require no reduction of adjacent teeth. This means dental implants can be kinder to the teeth either side.
Another big advantage of dental implants is that they support the underlying bone where the tooth has been lost. When you lose a tooth the bone collapses into the socket resulting in loss of bone height. This can affect how the gum margins look. Dental implants can support the bone and prevent this from happening.
Once you have a bridge fitted, you will have to take extra care during your daily hygiene regime to ensure it stays plaque free and does not cause bad breath.
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A sturdy way to restore several teeth in a row.
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