Dental bridges are a type of dental prosthesis that are used to replace one or more missing teeth. They are called “bridges” because they literally bridge the gap between the remaining teeth where the missing teeth used to be. A dental bridge consists of one or more artificial teeth (called pontics) that are held in place by dental crowns or implants that are attached to the teeth on either side of the gap.
Why might you need it.
Dental bridges are used to replace one or more missing teeth. They are designed to span the gap between teeth and can be used to restore both the appearance and functionality of the missing teeth. Some reasons why a dental bridge might be needed include:
- Improve appearance: Missing teeth can make you feel self-conscious about your appearance. A dental bridge can help to restore your smile and improve your overall appearance.
- Improve speech: Missing teeth can affect your ability to speak clearly. A dental bridge can help to improve your speech and pronunciation.
- Restore chewing ability: Missing teeth can make it difficult to chew food properly. A dental bridge can help to restore your ability to chew and eat comfortably.
- Prevent teeth from shifting: When a tooth is missing, the adjacent teeth can shift out of place, causing problems with bite alignment. A dental bridge can help to prevent this from happening.
- Maintain facial structure: Missing teeth can cause changes to the shape of your face over time. A dental bridge can help to maintain the structure of your face and prevent these changes from occurring.
The procedure for getting a dental bridge typically involves several steps and may require multiple visits to the dentist. Here is a general overview of the process:
- Consultation: The first step is to schedule a consultation with a dentist to determine if a dental bridge is the right solution for you. During the consultation, the dentist will examine your teeth and gums and discuss your treatment options.
- Preparation: Once it is determined that a dental bridge is the best solution, the next step is to prepare the teeth on either side of the gap for the bridge. This may involve removing some of the tooth enamel to make room for the bridge or building up the teeth with dental crowns.
- Impression: After the teeth are prepared, the dentist will take an impression of the teeth to create a mold for the dental bridge. The mold is sent to a dental laboratory where the bridge is custom-made to fit your mouth.
- Temporary bridge: While the permanent bridge is being made, the dentist will place a temporary bridge to protect the exposed teeth and gums.
- Fitting: Once the permanent bridge is ready, the dentist will remove the temporary bridge and fit the permanent bridge in place. The dentist will make sure the bridge fits properly and make any necessary adjustments.
- Bonding: Finally, the bridge is bonded into place using dental cement. The dentist will check the bite and make sure the bridge feels comfortable.
After the procedure, it may take a few days to get used to the new bridge, but with proper care, a dental bridge can last for many years.