24/02/2023 0 Comments
Dental Bridges: All Your Questions Answered
Borstal Gate Dental Practice is one of Ireland's premier fitters of quality dental bridges. We have helped improve the smile and chewing ability of dozens of patients.
Properly fitted bridges can make a massive difference to a person's quality of life by allowing them to enjoy just about any type of food. However, deciding on bridges is a big decision. As such, patients often have questions for our dentist. To make some of the answers easier to find for those considering dental bridges, we've compiled them below. The below is merely for informational purposes and should not be seen as a substitute for personal advice from a qualified dentist.
What are dental bridges?
Dental bridges are prosthetic devices that replace one or more missing teeth. They consist of one or more artificial teeth (pontics) anchored in place by attaching them to adjacent natural teeth or dental implants.
There are a variety of dental bridges available, including traditional bridges, cantilever bridges, and Maryland bridges. Conventional bridges use dental crowns on the adjacent teeth to support the pontic, while cantilever bridges use a dental crown on only one adjacent tooth. Maryland bridges use a metal or porcelain framework that is bonded to the backs of adjacent teeth.
Dental bridges can be made from various materials, including porcelain, ceramic, metal alloys, or a combination. They are typically custom-made to fit the patient's mouth and match the colour of their natural teeth.
Dental bridges can improve the smile's appearance, restore proper biting and chewing function, and prevent adjacent teeth from shifting out of place. However, they require good oral hygiene and regular dental checkups to maintain longevity and effectiveness.
What do dental bridges look like?
The appearance of a dental bridge can vary depending on the type of bridge and the materials used to create it. Generally, dental bridges are made to look like natural teeth and are designed to blend in with the surrounding teeth.
The pontic, or artificial tooth, is typically made to look like a natural tooth and can be made from materials such as porcelain, ceramic, or a combination of metal and porcelain. The colour and shape of the pontic are customised to match the colour and shape of the patient's natural teeth.
How long do dental bridges last?
The lifespan of a dental bridge can vary depending on several factors, including the type of bridge, the materials used, and how well the patient takes care of their oral health. With proper care, dental bridges can last for many years.
On average, dental bridges can last between 5 and 15 years. However, a well-maintained bridge can last even longer with good oral hygiene habits such as regular brushing, flossing, and dental checkups. Some bridges may last up to 20 years or more.
Factors that can affect the longevity of a dental bridge include:
- The type of bridge: Different types of bridges may have different lifespans. Traditional bridges tend to last longer than Maryland bridges, for example.
- The materials used: Bridges made from high-quality materials such as porcelain and ceramic tend to last longer than those made from less durable materials.
- The patient's oral hygiene habits: Regular brushing, flossing, and dental checkups can help prevent decay and gum disease that could compromise the supporting teeth and the bridge.
- The patient's bite: If a patient has a misaligned bite or grinds their teeth, this can put extra stress on the bridge and cause it to wear down more quickly.
Overall, the lifespan of a dental bridge can vary, and patients need to work with their dentist to ensure that their bridge is adequately maintained and replaced if necessary.
The dental crowns or framework that support the pontic are also made to blend in with the natural teeth. They can be made from the same materials as the pontic, and they are designed to fit snugly over the adjacent teeth to hold the bridge in place.
How long do dental bridges take?
The time it takes to get a dental bridge can vary depending on several factors, including the type of bridge, the number of teeth involved, and the condition of the surrounding teeth and gums.
In general, getting a dental bridge can take anywhere from 2 to 4 weeks and usually involves two or more visits to the dentist.
During the first visit, the dentist will prepare the teeth supporting the bridge by removing some of the enamel and shaping them to accommodate the dental crowns holding the bridge. Then, the dentist will take impressions of the prepared teeth and the surrounding teeth to send to the dental lab to create the bridge.
While waiting for the bridge to be created, the patient may be given a temporary one to wear to protect the prepared teeth and maintain the patient's appearance.
Once the bridge is ready, the patient will return for a second visit to have the bridge placed and adjusted for proper fit and bite. The dentist will then cement the bridge in place.
It is important to note that getting a dental bridge may take longer if the patient requires additional dental work, such as a root canal or gum treatment before the bridge can be placed.
How are dental bridges attached?
Dental bridges typically attach to adjacent teeth or dental implants using dental cement or bonding material. Attaching a dental bridge can vary depending on the type of bridge and the condition of the supporting teeth or implants.
In general, the process of attaching a dental bridge involves the following steps:
- Preparation of the supporting teeth or implants: The adjacent teeth supporting the dental bridge are prepared by removing a small amount of the enamel from the tooth surface. This is necessary to create space for the dental crowns to hold the bridge in place. If the supporting teeth are damaged or decayed, they may need to be treated before the bridge can be attached.
- Impressions: Once the supporting teeth are prepared, the dentist will take impressions of the teeth and the surrounding gums. These impressions will be used to create a custom-fit bridge that will fit perfectly over the supporting teeth and blend in with the surrounding teeth.
- Temporary bridge: If the bridge is not ready yet, the dentist may place a temporary bridge to protect the supporting teeth and to maintain the patient's appearance.
- Fitting the bridge: Once the bridge is ready, the dentist will fit it over the supporting teeth to check the fit and make any necessary adjustments.
- Attaching the bridge: When the dentist is satisfied with the fit and appearance of the bridge, they will attach it to the supporting teeth using dental cement or bonding material.
Once the bridge is attached, the patient may need to adjust their oral hygiene routine to ensure that the bridge and surrounding teeth stay clean and healthy. Regular dental checkups and cleanings are also essential to maintain the longevity and effectiveness of the dental bridge.
If you still have questions or concerns regarding dental bridges, please get in touch with us today. If you would like to schedule a consultation, please call our clinic.