Dental bridges are a solution for replacing missing teeth. The bridge serves as a false tooth that fills the void left by the missing teeth. It is attached to the two crowns of the teeth on each side of the missing tooth or teeth and appears like a dental implant. It literally forms a bridge from one teeth to the other.
Bridges are a cosmetic dentistry procedure used as an alternative to dentures, giving patients the ability to regain complete functionality of their mouth especially when it comes to speaking and eating. They also prevent any further cosmetic problems such as your teeth drifting further apart due to the gap left by the missing teeth.
Type of dental bridges
The three most common types of bridges are:
- Traditional: The crown is placed on one of the two sides of the gap while the replacement tooth fits in between. The tooth used is usually made out of porcelain fused with either ceramic or metal material.
- Maryland: Plastic replacement teeth are fitted with the help of metal wings bonded to the natural teeth on each side. Maryland bridge is similar to a resin-bonded bridge.
- Cantilever: This bridge is similar to the tradition, however, differs in the sense that the tooth to which the bridge is applied is adjacent to the gap.
The procedure to fit dental bridges usually requires two visits. In the first visit, a temporary bridge is fitted while impressions for the actual ones are taken. In the second visit, the temporary bridge is removed and the permanent one is fitted. Temporary cement is used to hold the bridge in place and through the course of the next few weeks, the bridge is examined by your dentist to ensure it fits properly and whether adjustments need to be made.
Like any other procedure, there can be complications during or afterward. While dental bridges may serve as your natural teeth, they aren’t actually natural.
Common problems linked to dental bridges
The need to consult with a qualified dentist can’t be stressed enough when it comes to dental bridges. You have to make sure that you get a bridge that is custom-made to fill the gap left by missing teeth. Ill-fitted bridges lead to discomfort but that is just the start. With time, the false tooth can lead to irritation in your gums potentially causing boils, infection, and gum recession around the bridge.
You should go see your dentist at the slightest bit of irritation or issue relating to how the bridge fits. So the problem doesn’t escalate into something far more serious.
With dental bridges, you need to make sure you maintain good oral hygiene. It is common for patients with bridges to develop tooth decay on the tooth in which the crown for the bridge is placed. When this happens, the tooth is no longer stable enough to serve as the foundation for the bridge.
To avoid this, you need to ensure you have a good oral hygiene routine which includes brushing twice a day and flossing at least once. Visiting your dentist on a regular basis is also important so they can ensure your bridge or teeth around it are in a good condition.
It is common for a patient to experience some sensitivity in their gums and teeth, on the side of the bridge, for a few weeks after it has been placed. Your mouth is getting used to the crown and therefore more sensitive. However, if you continue to experience sensitivity after two weeks, you should consult your dentist. There may be complications related to the bridge from it being ill-fitted or just not right for you.
The tooth replacement option in dental bridges is usually made of porcelain, metal, or a ceramic combination. They are not indestructible which is why your dentist will tell you to eat with a little more care, avoiding food that is sticky or hard. Once the structure of the bridge is damaged, you will need to replace it otherwise it can result in other oral problems particularly infection or gum disease.
While it is not common but there are chances of cracks in the teeth that serve as an anchor for the bridge. The smallest of cracks can lead to numerous problems. The most common of which is sensitivity. If cracks are left untreated, it becomes a gateway for bacteria into the nerves of your teeth, the gums, and so on. All of which results in an infection. The sooner a cracked tooth is identified, the better.
Some dental bridge issues are unavoidable such as cracked tooth or ill-fitted bridges because they have more to do with the procedure than how you care for the bridge. To avoid the rest, you need to adapt the best way to clean dental bridges into your daily routine:
- Brush the bridge but use a denture cleaner rather than toothpaste or an abrasive cleaner as they can scratch the surface of the bridge. Make sure you use a soft-bristled brush and are gentle. Putting too much force can dislodge the bridge.
- When rinsing your mouth, use cool, clean water. Hot water may warp the bridge.
- Do not leave denture cleaner on overnight, unless instructed by your dentist. Most dentures contain metal making them vulnerable to rust when in contact with the cleaner or water for a long period of time.
If at any point you face a problem with your dental bridges, be sure to seek professional help from our experienced dentists near you. Our team is always willing to help and offers emergency dental care for issues related to bridges. To make dental care less of a financial burden, we accept Medicare and other major insurances because we believe that everyone has a right to a million-dollar smile.