DENTAL BRIDGE EXPLAINED
Dental bridges can be used for patients who are looking to replace missing teeth. Find out if a bridge is the right solution for you, different types of bridges, the treatment steps, and dental bridge costs.
Dental Bridges or Fixed Bridges are used to replace missing teeth. A bridge is made by using two or more teeth as supporting pillars (known as abutments) by covering them with crowns that are used to hold a fake tooth (known as a pontic) in the gap. The crowns on the abutment teeth and the fake tooth are all joined together in one piece. Occasionally if many adjacent teeth are missing, dental implant fixtures may be used as the abutments.
WHEN DO I NEED A BRIDGE?
There are a number of reasons why you might benefit from a dental bridge:
- You are missing one or two teeth next to each other.
- You have health issues that prevent the use of dental implants.
- You desire a long-lasting solution that feels more natural than removable dentures.
COST OF A DENTAL BRIDGE
TYPES OF BRIDGES
There are several different types of bridges that can be used to replace a missing tooth. Your dentist will discuss the most appropriate option for your case. Three of the common options are:
- Fixed, traditional bridge: A fixed bridge involves making a crown for each abutment either side of the gap and a pontic (fake tooth) in the middle. The bridge (the crowns and the pontic) are all joined together as one big piece. These are the most common type of bridges.
- Cantilever Fixed Bridge: This type of bridge is used in certain, specific cases where a traditional bridge is not possible. Instead of two supports/abutments, a cantilever bridge is only anchored by one abutment. This treatment is considered more conservative as only one tooth needs to be prepared for the procedure. However, this method provides less structural support and can be damaged or displaced more easily.
- Maryland Bridge (or resin bonded bridge): In this case the pontic (fake tooth) is held in place by metal or porcelain wings rather than full crowns. The wings are bonded to the teeth with specialised dental material (called resin). Maryland bridges are often used as temporary measures but may be used as long-term treatments in certain cases.
TYPES OF BRIDGE MATERIAL
Different bridge materials are used in different situations, which your dentist will discuss with you. Here are two of the material options:
- Full porcelain bridge: These types of bridges are the most popular and modern. Full porcelain bridges match the appearance of natural teeth more closely than any other type of bridge. The most popular, modern materials are bridges made from zirconia or lithium di-silicate (the most popular is IPS e.max).
- Porcelain fused to metal bridges: A porcelain-fused-to-metal (PFM or VMK) bridge consists of a metal-alloy bases which are partially or fully covered by porcelain. This bridge type is not as popular due to the advancement of modern dental materials.
The White Bite primarily uses bridges made from zirconia or lithium di-silicate (like IPS e.max) due to their superior performance and longevity.
HOW DOES A BRIDGE AFFECT MY ORAL HYGIENE?
As a dental bridge is connected to the two anchor teeth, you will be unable to floss between your dental bridge like your natural teeth. Instead you will require inter-dental brushes (they look like toothpicks with bristles) to clean around the abutments.