Bridges are dental prosthetics used to replace missing or lost teeth. A dental bridge is what we call “fixed”, meaning the prosthetic is glued into your mouth and cannot come out unless removed by your dentist.
A dental bridge works by preparing the healthy teeth on either side of a missing tooth area for crowns. Rather than the crowns being separate and distinct units, a dental bridge suspends a fake or “pontic” tooth in between these two new crowns to “span” the gap much like a roadway on 2 pylons over a gorge or river. The bridge is made by a technician in a dental laboratory as one solid piece of metal, ceramic or a combination of the two.
A “three unit bridge” uses two existing teeth to help carry the load and fill the space of a single missing tooth. Occasionally, additional teeth may be added into the bridge to add strength or improve aesthetics. Dental bridges can also be made using 2 or more implants to achieve a similar result.
Pros of Dental Bridges:
The entire process, from start to finish, takes only a few weeks. Bridges are often the quickest way to replace a missing tooth.
While bridges work by using the strength of existing teeth, they are not dependent on the density or shape of the bone at the site of the missing tooth.
Dental bridges are a routine procedure for dentists and often do not require any additional treatments or surgeries to complete.
If the neighboring teeth are already in need of large fillings or crowns, bridges are an ideal way to fix and strengthen those teeth while also filling in the gap of a missing tooth.
Cons of Dental Bridges:
Bridges can be costly… Essentially, a bridge is three crowns and you can often estimate the cost of a bridge by multiplying the cost of a single crown by three. If two teeth need replaced, a bridge may involve four or five units to complete the prosthetic.
Bridges require relatively healthy adjacent teeth both in front of and behind the area needing a new tooth. Since we are asking these existing teeth to carry the additional load of the new tooth, the gums and bone around in these areas must be in relative health.
Because the three or four teeth in a new bridge are actually one single unit, you will be required to perform some extra tasks to keep these areas clean. You will not be able to floss in a conventional way around some parts of the bridge and keeping all the teeth of a bridge healthy is very important.
Problems to one of the support teeth involved in the dental bridge can compromise the entire prosthetic. If one of these teeth breaks or fails the entire bridge may be lost.
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