Tooth decay – From the outside, dental bridges are quite appealing. Unfortunately, if the abutment (supporting) tooth is decaying, then complications may occur.
Infections – For patients with gum disease or tooth decay, there is a possibility of developing other infections after this treatment. However, your dentist will treat any underlying problems before fitting dental bridges.
Bridge failure – Like any other dental procedure, your bridge could fail in several ways. For instance, an abutment tooth could break due to trauma or caries. The cement seal might break causing the bridge to fall out. This, however, can easily be re-cemented. In other cases, the bridge itself could break. Follow-up dental procedures may be necessary to correct these kinds of failures.
Pain or chewing problems – Once you get the bridges, you may experience some pain, especially when chewing until things settle. At times, the bite may feel strange. This implies that your bite needs to be re-adjusted. If these conditions persist, then you should seek help from your dentist
It is important to keep your remaining teeth healthy and strong as the success of the bridge (depending on the type selected) depends on the solid foundation offered by the surrounding teeth. Brushing twice a day and flossing daily helps prevent tooth decay and gum disease that can lead to tooth loss. Your dentist or dental hygienist can demonstrate how to properly brush and floss your teeth. Keeping a regular cleaning schedule will help diagnose problems at an early stage when treatment has a better prognosis. Selecting a balanced diet for proper nutrition is also important.
There are alternatives to a fixed bridge including an adhesive bridge (which is less intrusive), partial dentures and implants.
A full examination, including x-rays, is needed to assess the health of the teeth either side of the gap. Following a local anaesthetic, the teeth are prepared and an impression is taken. Approximately 10 days later, the bridge can be fitted. Between the preparation and final restoration, a temporary bridge can be placed for comfort and aesthetics.
Dental bridges come with a host of benefits. Firstly, you do not need to remove them whenever you want to clean your teeth. You can brush your teeth normally. Besides that, bridges have an average life span of ten years. They are strong and stable and, with impeccable oral hygiene and regular dental check-ups, they can last even longer. Loss of teeth can lead to low self-esteem; bridges help restore not only your smile but also your confidence.
Extensive, irreversible tooth removal either side of the gap, but remember – it’s usually the damage to these teeth that dictates the choice of a bridge in the first place. Trauma to any tooth, including removing the tooth surface to fit a bridge, may cause the tooth nerve to die, necessitating a subsequent root treatment, although this can sometimes be performed through the bridge.
Besides traditional bridges, another popular design is the resin bonded or “Maryland” bridge, primarily used for the front teeth. This is usually the most economical choice when the neighbouring teeth are healthy and don’t contain large fillings. The replacement tooth is fused to metal bands that can be bonded to the neighbouring teeth with a resin cement and hidden from view, reducing the amount of preparation on the adjacent teeth.
A cantilever bridge may be used if there are teeth on only one side of the span. This involves anchoring the false tooth to one side over one or more natural, adjacent teeth. If there are no adjacent teeth to act as anchors, we may recommend an implant–a metal post that is surgically embedded into the bone and capped with a crown as an abutment. In some cases where the span is large, we may recommend a removable partial denture or even an implant-supported prosthesis.
Traditional bridges revolve around designing a crown on either side of a missing tooth. The dental experts will put these types of bridges together with the “false tooth” in between the crowns. The crowns are meant to hold together the fake teeth. Traditional bridges are quite strong. In some cases, dentists use them to replace a patient’s molars. These bridges are usually made of metal and porcelain, or solely of ceramic.
Cantilever bridges are not much different from traditional bridges. However, the fake teeth or the pontics on these bridges receive support from only one side. This is what sets them apart from the popular traditional bridges. Cantilever bridges cannot be used in all situations. It is normally the tooth behind the gap that is used as an abutment tooth.
In some cases, dentists choose to use implant-supported bridges. These work very well when a patient has several teeth missing. Unlike other types of bridges where crowns support the pontics, the support of these bridges hinges on dental implants. Depending on the number of missing teeth, a dentist will decide how many implants are required to support the bridge.
Dental technicians design Maryland bridges with a ceramic or metal framework. The role of this framework is to hold the pontic in place by a ceramic or metal wing cemented onto a neighbouring tooth. Just like the traditional bridges, Maryland bridges only work if you have natural teeth on both sides of the gap left by a missing tooth/teeth.