Whether it’s from trauma or disease, sometimes teeth go missing. There are many ways to replace missing teeth, and dental bridges are one of the oldest and best-known.
What Are Dental Bridges?
Dental bridges are made out of several artificial tooth crowns fused together to replace one or more missing teeth. Three crowns are typically used, with the two at either end of the bridge being anchored onto healthy adjacent teeth to keep the bridge in place. The crown in the middle sits where the missing tooth used to be.
Dental bridges can also be fixed to dental implants. This allows the complete replacement of a single tooth from the root up, and for bridges to be placed without compromising otherwise healthy adjacent teeth.
What Are Dental Bridges Made From?
Metal alloy and porcelain are the most common materials used in dental bridges. Metal alloy provides the strength needed to withstand the biting forces at the back of the mouth. Porcelain closely mimics the look and colour of natural teeth, and is resistant to staining.
A combination of the two materials is also common, with a metal alloy base being covered by a porcelain coat for optimum strength and appearance.
It’s interesting to note that while many consider gold tooth restorations a fashion statement, gold is actually an excellent material for dental work. It’s tough, durable, biocompatible, and regularly lasts up to decades longer than other alternatives.
How Are Dental Bridges Made?
Dental bridges involve a multi-step process.
To ensure your dental bridge accurately fits into your mouth, an impression is first made of your teeth and bite. This is done by placing a jaw-shaped tray filled with soft gel into your mouth. You bite onto the gel, and an impression is made.
The purpose of recording your bite is twofold; firstly, it’s to make the tooth the correct size and shape to match the original tooth. Secondly, it’s to see how your teeth fit together when you close your mouth. Without knowing both of these pieces of information, the restoration won’t work properly and may even lead to further problems later.
After this, the impression is taken to a lab where the crowns are designed and cast in whatever material has been chosen.
The healthy adjacent teeth to the missing tooth are then shaved down to allow the crowns to sit on top of them. The dental bridge is cemented in place, and the process is complete.
If the bridge is supported on a dental implant, an additional set of steps is necessary to insert the implant, wait for it to integrate with the bone, then place the bridge on top.
Benefits of a Dental Bridge
A dental bridge restores the look and function of your mouth by replacing the missing tooth. This makes your smile more natural, chewing more pleasant, and protects the gum from damage and disease. It also prevents the teeth on either side of the missing tooth from “tipping” into the gap over time, which the can do if left alone.