Know All About Dental Bridges

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How Do I Fill Gaps Of Missing Teeth?

Tooth loss is a common problem among both the young and old which arises due to several reasons including injury, decay or disease in the tooth. Poor oral health is a primary cause for premature falling of teeth. This may occur because of irregular dental check ups or unhygienic teeth cleaning habits. Traumatic injuries can lead to root fracture and consequent infection or may even damage the jawbone structure, which in turn leads to tooth loss. Dental diseases, especially infection in the gums, poor nutrition, excessive smoking, chewing of tobacco and teeth grinding are also major causes of falling teeth. Loss of teeth makes it difficult to speak and chew properly, ultimately causing anxiety and self-consciousness. 


A Dental Bridge can help you replace missing teeth with long lasting artificial teeth.

What Are Dental Bridges?

Dental Bridges are used to fill in gaps of missing teeth. The two teeth adjacent to the bridge are capped, before the bridge is put in place. They involve suspending artificial replacements for missing teeth, provide an effective solution to tooth loss. 

Dental Bridges are commonly also known as Tooth Bridges.


Who Are Ideal Candidates For Dental Bridges?

 

Patients with cavity free abutment teeth can use dental bridges because successful dental bridges need healthy adjacent teeth to support the bridge teeth.

For people needing short term and cheap solutions, dental bridges is a good option.

People with damaged teeth alongside a healthy tooth or an implant.

Patients who have just had a tooth extraction get dental bridges to prevent further damage.

Patients wanting to have a fuller smile or tooth structure opt for dental bridges.

Children born with an abnormal jaw where no permanent teeth could grow can get removable dental bridges.


What Are The Different Types Of Dental Bridges?

Dental bridges are made up of one or two crowns on either sides of an artificial tooth. The artificial tooth is called is called a pontic and is made from gold, porcelain, etc. The anchoring teeth on the side are called abutment teeth. Bridges are generally supported by natural teeth or implants. They can be of different kinds -

Traditional Bridges

Traditional bridges, generally made up of ceramic or porcelain materials are of the basic design that is two crowns with a pontic in between. This is the most common dental bridge. 

Cantilever Bridges

Cantilever bridges are generally used when there is only one neighbor teeth for support. These are not preferred at the back of the mouth. 

Maryland Bonded Bridge

Maryland bonded bridge, also known as resin-bonded bridge is usually made up or porcelain or porcelain-fused metal. It generally contains plastic teeth, supported by a metal frame which is then bonded to only a single neighbor tooth. Maryland bridge prices generally range between 200-2250$ in medical destinations like India.

Dental bridge application technique involves re-contouring which results in removal of a portion of enamel. Then teeth impressions are made according to which a temporary bridge is designed to prevent infection. The last stage is placing the permanent bridge to achieve proper fit. 

 


 

What To Do Before A Dental Bridge Procedure? 

  • The patient should stop smoking for a day or two before the treatment day. He should also not be allowed to drink any alcoholic drinks as these reduce the flow of blood which reduces the effect of preoperative medicines and prolong recovery time.

  • One should not take blood thinning medicines for a few days before the procedure. Thinner blood might lead to incessant blood flow and reduced blood clotting at the time of operation and recovery.

  • Antibiotics and anti-inflammatory pills should be offered to the patients before the procedure to help ease the pain during the treatment.

  • The empty site should be properly cleaned before placing the dental bridge so as to remove any infection at the site.

 


 

What Is The Post-operative Care For A Dental Bridge Procedure? 

  • Chewing with the side on which the treatment was done should be minimized. Instead, try to shift the load on the opposite side.

  • As an after care measure, avoid chewing hard foods as these might displace the bridge from its correct position.

  • Be careful while cleaning or flossing your teeth during the stages of healing of the dental bridge as the floss could pull out the temporary bridge.

  • Sticky foods can pull out a temporary bridge from its proper position and thus should not be taken immediately after the treatment and for a few days afterwards.

  • One should not take any alcoholic beverages or smoke for a few days after the treatment as they disrupt the blood flow to the gums and increase the the healing time.

  • Regular cleaning of teeth is necessary as the bridges do not decay but the teeth underneath can.


What Is The Post-operative Diet For A Dental Bridges?

One should avoid sticky food items like jellybeans or gummy bears, etc. These food items stick in between the bridge and the opposite tooth. Thus, when the opposite chewing motion between the two might pull out the dental bridge as it is not permanently anchored into gums.

Crunchy foods like carrots should not be taken as these might damage the tooth under the crown.

Sugary foods should also be prevented as these lead to decay of gums and teeth at and near the bridge site.

Hot and cold foods can also be avoided to prevent sensitivity.

In case of dental bridges, the postoperative diet is almost as same as that for dental crowns because bridges contain dental crowns as crowns form a part of the bridge. Food items with excess of sugar content can cause decay under the crowns and therefore, should be avoided.


What Are The Realistic Expectations From A Dental Bridge?

While considering a tooth bridge, prospective candidates should have realistic expectations as to what the procedure will eventually achieve.

  • Dental bridges are relatively strong and stable, when they are used to replace one or two teeth. When many teeth are missing, dentists often suggest dentures or implants. 

  • Adjacent teeth and general oral hygiene should also be good in people who wish to get bridges.  

  • While bridges usually stay in place, it is possible for them to slip and shift from their position. Although with proper application of technique and design this rarely happens.

  • With good oral hygiene dental bridges can last anywhere from 5 to 15 years. Regular dental checkups also ensure the long life span of the dental bridges.


What Are The Pros And Cons Of Dental Bridges?

  • Pros

  • Cons

  • Dental bridges are a quick means of replacing missing teeth and result in a full set of teeth. They usually take around two dental visits for preparation and placement of the dental bridge. Other options like dental implants take much longer for placement. From extraction to healing to implant placement, the process of getting a permanent crown would take very long compared to using a dental bridge.

  • They are economical. The initial costs of the procedure would cost much less than most other dental alternatives.

  • Aesthetically, dental bridges aka tooth bridges provide the benefit of improving the shape and colour of the teeth that are crowned.

  • Dental bridges are durable and last a considerable length of time.

  • Dental bridges are less invasive than procedures like dental implants. It is a great alternative for those who cannot undergo surgical procedures due to medical reasons.

  • Does not deter further tooth loss. Cemented bridges might become loose and in rare cases, might cause failure in anchoring teeth.

  • One solution is to use implant supported bridges. Here, each replacement tooth is attached to the crowns that help in anchoring the ends of the bridges.

  • The procedure might result in damaged nerves. There is a 1-15% chance of the tooth losing vitality. This might require root canal treatment in the future if it has not been carried out already.

  • There might be difficulty in cleaning as dental bridges are slightly prone to collecting plaque. Extra care is required to keep the underside of the bridge clean. Instead of normal flossing, one could opt for using super floss instead.


Who Should Avoid Undergoing A Dental Bridge?

  • Pregnant women are ideally asked to avoid elective dental procedures during pregnancy. While local anaesthetics are used in these procedures, dentists normally recommend getting bridges after delivery to avoid any complications due to the anesthesia. 

  • Dental bridges are non invasive procedures that only require a local anaesthetic.Hence after initial examination this process can be completed in one appointment, with a follow up to evaluate the success of the procedure. 

  • If a patient has more than one tooth missing, it is better to opt for dentures or implants, as bridges require adjacent tooth to be of good health as well.

 


 

What Are The Alternatives To A Dental Bridge?

Other alternative treatments available to a patient include dental implants or dentures. Implants refer to permanently integrating artificial tooth roots in the bone structure of missing teeth. While it  provides a permanent, durable and fool-proof solution, all patients may not be suitable candidates for implant surgery. Problems associated with bone density or gum recession may prevent an individual from being able to get implants. 

Dentures, on the other hand, involve the restoration of missing teeth through removable partial of full artificial replacements. While it is a low cost alternative to dental bridges or implants, it does not provide as permanent and natural looking a solution. Moreover, dentures may be uncomfortable and can cause problems in speech and chewing or condition of sore gums.
 


 

Does Dental Bridge Lead To Scarring?

This procedure deals with placing of a dental bridge which involves placing of crowns on adjacent teeth. Now, this might require scratching of a portion of enamel for perfect fit, but it does not cause any scars. There could be minor marks on gums by surgical instruments. But, these are very minute and also inside the mouth. Thus, they are not visible. After a dental bridge treatment, there is no worry of post treatment scars.
 


 

What Are The Temporary Side-effects Of Dental Bridges? 

Complications with dental bridges are rare. 

  • With any procedures involving contact the gums, the main concern is risk of inflammation and infections. These are generally treated with over the counter medications. 

  • Sometimes, allergies may develop after the procedure. A precautionary measure usually taken before the procedure is to ensure that a patient isn’t allergic to the materials used to make the bridge.

 


 

How To Choose A Surgeon For A Dental Bridge?

Dentists should ideally be certified to perform dental surgeries on their clients. While dentists in America are members of the American Dental Association (ADA), foreign doctors can also obtain this certification. The American Academy for Cosmetic Dentistry (AACD), provides accreditation for dentists within America and abroad. To receive their internationally recognised certification, dentists go through a series of practical and theoretical tests. This ensures the standardization of dental care amongst dentists. 

Once you are comfortable with your choice, one should have a discussion on the procedure and what it entails. You should ask the surgeon about the results of the surgery and voice any concerns about how likely the side effects are. A dentist’s experience portfolio and number of dental bridges performed should also be inquired upon.

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