What are Dental Bridges and How to Take Care of Them?

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Everyone wants that picture-perfect smile, but sometimes, teeth (or even their absence) can come in the way. Not only that, missing teeth can affect the way one eats and speaks as well. That’s why, sometimes when one has missing teeth, it becomes necessary for a dentist to bridge the gap - literally - with a dental bridge. Once you have a dental bridge, it is also important to care for it. But before we delve into that, let us first understand what a dental bridge really is.

What is a dental bridge?

A dental bridge is a false tooth, also known as a pontic, that is made up of various materials such as porcelain, gold, etc. It is held firmly in place by the abutment teeth on either side of the gap. Mainly, there are four types of dental bridges1:

  • Traditional dental bridge:

    This is the most popular type among dental bridges, and it is used when a person has natural teeth on both sides of a gap. It involves a false tooth or teeth held in place by dental crowns. They are made of porcelain fused to either metal or ceramics.

  • Cantilever bridge:

    This type of dental bridge is similar to a traditional bridge but is used when only one side of the missing tooth or teeth have natural adjacent teeth. It is not recommended in the back of the mouth, as it can put too much pressure on the other teeth and cause more harm than good.

  • Maryland bonded bridge:

    This resin-bonded bridge is made up of porcelain, porcelain fused to metal, or a porcelain or metal framework supporting plastic teeth and gums. Like the traditional bridge, it can only be used when one has a natural tooth on each side of the missing tooth gap.

  • Implant-supported bridge:

    As opposed to crowns or dental frameworks, implant-supported bridges use dental implants. One implant is placed surgically for every missing tooth, and the implants then hold the bridge in place. This type of bridge is considered the most stable system and needs two surgeries - one to install the implants in the jawbone, and one to place the bridge.

Why is a dental bridge important?

When you have a missing tooth or missing teeth, a dental bridge can help you in the following ways:

  • It can help restore your smile, especially when replacing front teeth with a bridge

  • It can maintain the shape of your face

  • It re-adjusts the bite to make chewing better by properly distributing the force

  • It prevents the remaining teeth from moving out of alignment

  • It can help restore pronunciation and speech

How to care for a dental bridge?

For a dental bridge to stay firmly in place and be successful in the long run, the surrounding teeth need to be strong and healthy. This will provide a strong foundation for it - so the best bridge dental care is to keep all the other teeth strong.

Brush twice a day for two minutes each time. You can go for a sturdy toothbrush such as Oral-B Vitality 100 Criss Cross Electric Rechargeable Toothbrush that provides a faster, more thorough cleaning with its Cross Action features such as 16 degree precise angles, specially engineered bristles, and 2D Cleaning Action that oscillates and rotates to remove plaque efficiently. It also lets you know you have brushed the right amount with a 2-minute professional timer. Also, don’t forget to floss at least once a day, preferably at night before bed, since it is crucial to remove the day’s accumulated plaque and leftover food particles before sleeping. It is also a good idea to use an antibacterial mouthwash to prevent mouth bacteria from causing decay, gum disease, and tooth loss.

With proper care, good oral hygiene, and regular dental visits dental bridges can last up to 15 years, or even longer.

What is the process to get a dental bridge?

When you first visit the dentist to get a dental bridge, the abutment teeth are prepared. This process involves removing a portion of enamel to recontour these teeth and make room for a crown to be placed over them. Then, impressions of the teeth are made to create a model from which the dental lab then makes the bridge, crowns, and pontics. While this bridge is being made, the dentist will have you wear a temporary bridge to protect the exposed gums and teeth.

Afterwards, during the second visit, the temporary bridge is removed and then the metal or porcelain bridge is installed. It may, however, need to be checked and adjusted as necessary to get a proper fit - so it is not unusual to be required to make multiple visits to the dental clinic while installing a bridge.

There are many benefits of using a dental bridge for a missing tooth. Your dental professional is the right person to tell you whether you need one, help you understand the process of getting a dental bridge and how to care for it. You can also discuss the dental bridge cost and other options. After getting a bridge, maintain good oral hygiene to keep it in place and take care of the rest of your teeth by using superior dental products such as Oral-B electric toothbrushes.

Read more about how to brush your teeth and other oral care tips