Dental bridges are restorations used to replace one or more missing teeth. Bridges are usually kept in place by dental cement, making this type of cosmetic dentistry long lasting and effective.
Dental bridges are used to replace teeth that are missing by providing a bridge for the gap between the two remaining teeth. Most bridges are made up of a false tooth, known as a pontic, and crowns that are placed on the nearby natural teeth that serves to hold the false tooth in place.
To create your dental bridge your dentist will need to take a mould of your teeth in specialised dental putty. Some alterations to the natural teeth may be required to ensure there's sufficient room for the supporting crowns. The mould of your teeth is sent off to a special laboratory where the bridge will be custom made.
Your bridge can be made out of a number of materials.
- Porcelain fused to a metal structure
This is the traditional and most documented material. The dental technician expertly shapes and blends porcelain onto a metal structure which provides a very durable and aesthetic framework.
- Porcelain fused to Zirconia structure
This is a metal free option. Zirconia is an extremely strong porcelain like structure that mimics tooth structure and gives a more aesthetic result.
- Maryland Bridge
This is a good aesthetic option that offers less grinding of neighbouring teeth. The Maryland bridges are made up of a specialised resin or porcelain that is cemented directly to the enamel of adjacent teeth by means of a “wing” attachment. Due to the light preparations involved there's no need to expose the part of your tooth known as the dentin, which eliminates the risk of the procedural sensitivity. The process is usually completely reversible.
Caring for your bridge
As with all dental restorations, it's important to maintain a high level of oral hygiene. If you take good care, your bridge may last upwards of 10 years. It's vital that you care for it as you would your natural teeth, as your bridge is still vulnerable to damage caused by insufficient brushing and excessive intakes of sugary foods and drinks.