When a patient is missing one or more teeth, a dentist can fill the gap with a dental bridge. A dental bridge consists of two or more crowns placed on the teeth adjacent to the gap left by missing teeth. These teeth on either side, called abutment teeth, flank the false tooth or teeth placement between them called a pontic or pontics. Materials used to make pontics include porcelain, alloys, gold or a combination of those materials. The support for dental bridges comes from implants or natural teeth, depending on the patient’s oral situation.
Dental bridge benefits
Although dental implants are one of the most popular tooth replacement options today, they don’t work for everyone, and this is where dental bridges become a viable option. The benefits of dental bridges include:
- Smile Restoration
- Ability to chew and speak properly
- Maintain face shape and structure
- Help distribute bite force properly by filling in gaps from missing teeth
- Keep remaining teeth in their proper position
Types of dental bridges
The type of dental bridge a patient receives depends on where they’re missing teeth in their mouth. Dentists use two main types of dental bridges including:
Traditional bridge – The dentist creates a crown for the tooth or implant on each side of missing tooth and places the fake tooth/pontic between them. This is the most common bridge used, and dentists use ceramics or porcelain fused to metal.
Cantilever bridge – When there are adjacent teeth only on a single side of a gap, the dentist can use a cantilever bridge. However, these bridges are less common today and don’t work well in the back of the mouth because of the force they place on other teeth.
Expectations with dental bridges
With proper care including good oral hygiene and regular dental visits, a dental bridge can last 5-15 years or longer. When the dentist replaces missing teeth with a dental bridge, it can make eating easier as patients don’t have to deal with gaps in their teeth and can properly chew their food. A dental bridge can improve speech in those who have endured missing teeth, especially when the bridge helps keep anterior teeth in their proper position.
Caring for a dental bridge
As previously mentioned, patients need to practice proper oral hygiene to keep the teeth and gums healthy and improve the success of the dental bridge. After receiving a dental bridge, the dentist or hygienist can show the patient how to brush and floss correctly around the device and how to detect any issues. When a patient is getting used to a new bridge, they may want to chew softer food and cut it up into manageable pieces until they’ve acclimated to the change. Maintaining regularly scheduled dental visits with professional cleanings and exams is the best way to care for a dental bridge and the entire mouth.
If you’re missing teeth, it’s important to consult a dentist and find a proper replacement as soon as possible to prevent teeth from shifting and avoid bone loss. Contact Dupont Dental today to find out more information about our restorative and cosmetic dentistry services.