All About Dental Bridges

BY: Dr. Sandeep Sharma
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All About Dental Bridges

All About Dental Bridges

Are you missing one or more teeth? Dental bridges may be the right dental treatment option for you!

Dental bridges are a common dental prosthesis that many people get. But what are dental bridges, and what do they do?

In this blog post, we’ll explain everything you need to know about dental bridges. We’ll cover what they are, why you might need them, how they’re installed, and more. So if you’re curious about dental bridges, keep reading!

What Are Dental Bridges?

What Are Dental Bridges?

Dental bridges are an excellent way to replace missing teeth and restore your smile. Although there are several different types of dental bridges, they all work by anchoring artificial teeth to the natural teeth on either side of the gap. This provides support for the artificial teeth and helps to keep them in place.

The dental bridge is made up of three parts:

  • The two dental crowns that are placed on the adjacent teeth (abutment teeth)
  • The false tooth (pontic) in the middle

The dental crowns are used to hold the dental bridge in place, and the pontic is used to fill the space where the missing tooth is. In some cases, a dental implant can be used in place of one of the dental crowns.

Bridges can be made from various materials, including porcelain, metal, or a combination of both. In most cases, your existing teeth are used to support the bridge. Your dentist will help you to choose the most appropriate type of dental bridge for your needs.

Who Needs Dental Bridges?

A few things need to be considered before getting a dental bridge. It must be determined whether a person is a good candidate for the procedure. Some people are not suitable because of their age, health, or lifestyle.

Those who need dental bridges are people who:

  • Have lost one or a few teeth:
    This can be from an injury, gum disease, or tooth decay.

  • Have good oral health and want to maintain it:
    Dental bridges rely on adjacent healthy teeth for support. They also prevent the harmful effects of missing teeth.

  • Do not want to wear dentures:
    People who are contraindicated for or are hesitant to wear dentures may consider dental bridges.

  • Are willing to take care of their teeth:
    Dental bridges require extra care and attention. People who are not willing to take care of their teeth may not be good candidates for dental bridges.

  • Are not candidates for dental implants:
    Not everyone is a good candidate for dental implants. If this is your case, dental bridges may be a good option for you.

Dental bridges can also last for many years with proper care. They offer many benefits to those who wear them.

What Are The Benefits Of Gettings Dental Bridges?

There are many advantages dental bridges offer, including the following:

  • Restoring your smile:
    Gaps in your teeth left by missing teeth can be embarrassing and make you feel self-conscious. Dental bridges restore your smile by filling these in.

  • Improving your speech:
    Dental bridges can also help improve your speech. When you have missing teeth, it can affect how certain sounds are pronounced. Dental bridges can help address this issue.

  • Improving your chewing:
    A dental bridge can help you chew more effectively. When you have missing teeth, it can be difficult to chew properly.

  • Preventing your teeth from shifting:
    When you have missing teeth, the remaining teeth can begin to shift out of place. This can cause problems with your bite and make it difficult to keep your teeth clean.

  • Preventing the appearance of sunken cheeks:
    Dental bridges can help to support the cheeks and lips, preventing the sunken appearance that often occurs when teeth are missing.

  • Reducing the risk of oral health problems:
    When gaps in your teeth are present, these spaces can trap food and plaque easily. Dental bridges help prevent oral health issues, keeping your gums and teeth healthy.

How Many Types of Dental Bridges Are Available?

There are four types of dental bridges: traditional dental bridge, cantilever dental bridge, Maryland dental bridge, and implant-supported dental bridge. Each type has different indications, pros, and cons.

Traditional Dental Bridge

A traditional dental bridge is the most common type of bridge. It is made of metal, porcelain fused to metal or ceramic. It is usually used when there are healthy teeth on both sides of the missing tooth.

The procedure usually takes two visits. The first visit is to prepare the teeth by removing a portion of the enamel. An impression is made of the prepared teeth, and a temporary bridge is placed. During the second visit, the permanent bridge is placed.

The advantage of a traditional bridge is that it is less expensive than an implant-supported bridge. The disadvantage is that it can put stress on the adjacent teeth because they have to support the entire structure.

Cantilever Dental Bridge

A cantilever dental bridge is similar to a traditional dental bridge but only has support on one side. It is used when there are healthy teeth on only one side of the missing tooth or teeth.

The procedure usually takes two visits as well. The first visit is to prepare the teeth by removing a portion of the enamel. An impression is made of the prepared teeth, and a temporary bridge is placed if necessary.

The permanent bridge will be checked for fit and placed during the second visit if everything looks good. Then, it will be cemented into place.

The advantage of a cantilever dental bridge over a traditional one is that it doesn’t put as much stress on adjacent teeth because they don’t have to support the entire structure. However, cantilever bridges are not as strong and stable as traditional bridges. And they are not recommended for use in visible areas such as the front teeth.

Maryland Dental Bridge

A Maryland dental bridge gets its name from being developed at the University of Maryland Dental School in 1981. It consists of a pontic (artificial tooth) with wings on either side that are bonded to your existing teeth with a resin material or metal clasps (brackets).

This type of bridge can be used when there are gaps from one or more missing teeth, but healthy surrounding teeth are available to bond the Maryland pontic wings to.

The advantages of using this type include that very little preparation work needs to be done to adjacent supporting teeth compared to other types of bridges. Plus, no extra cosmetic procedures may be needed once the pontic is in place, like with removable or partial dentures.

Additionally, the Maryland dental bridge is a relatively affordable option; it is durable, long-lasting, and easy to maintain.

The disadvantage, however, is that, maybe due to the bonding nature, it weakens supporting teeth over time. This may eventually lead to the weakening of the bond, the bridge becoming loose and needing to be replaced;

Implant-Supported Bridge

An implant-supported bridge offers benefits you can’t get with any other type of restoration: namely, superior stability and longevity, while also providing an excellent result, cosmetically speaking.

This begins with placing implants into specific areas determined by your dentist beforehand. However, the implants need to fuse with the jaw bone first, which can take up to 6 months. During this time, the patient wears a temporary bridge for the meantime until all areas are ready. The implants are then checked for proper alignment or positioning. Abutments may be added before eventually getting a permanent implant-supported bridge.

The implant-supported dental bridge has several advantages, durable, stable, long-lasting, and does not damage adjacent teeth. However, it also has several disadvantages, including that it requires surgery to install the implants and that it can be uncomfortable for some patients.

Choosing the right type of dental bridge will depend on your individual needs and preferences. Be sure to discuss all your options with your dentist before making a decision consistent with good oral hygiene practices.

What Happens During A Dental Bridge Procedure?

If you’re considering a dental bridge to replace one or more missing teeth, it’s helpful to know what the procedure involves. Here’s a step-by-step guide to getting a dental bridge:

  1. The first step is to schedule a consultation with your dentist to discuss whether a dental bridge is the right option for you.

  2.  If you decide to proceed with the procedure, your dentist will take an impression of your teeth to create a custom-made temporary prosthetic.

  3. They will then proceed to shape the teeth adjacent to the gap by removing some enamel. Another impression will be taken to construct the final dental bridge.

  4. A temporary dental bridge will be cemented onto your teeth.

  5. Once the dental prosthetic is ready, you’ll return to the dentist’s office to have it fitted and bonded into place.

  6.  After the dental bridge is in place, you’ll need to practise good oral hygiene and visit your dentist regularly for check-ups and cleanings.

If you’re considering this tooth replacement option, be sure to talk to your dentist about the risks involved in the procedure so that you can make an informed decision.

What Risks Are Associated With The Treatment?

What Risks Are Associated With The Treatment?

While dental bridges can be a great option to restore your smile, there are some associated risks that you should be aware of before undergoing treatment.

  • Eating Difficulties and Bite Problems:
    If the crowns placed over your teeth are not fitted properly, they can interfere with your bite and make it difficult to chew your food properly.

  • Damage to Underlying Teeth:
    The dental bridge relies on the supporting teeth for stability. When they are already compromised, the chewing forces can cause these teeth to weaken or crack.

  • Loosening of the Dental Bridge:
    The dental bridge is held in place by dental cement, and over time, this cement can dissolve, causing the bridge to become loose.

  • Cavities and Gum Disease:
    Because the dental bridge covers the gum line, it can be difficult to clean properly, and as a result, cavities or gum disease can develop.

Overall, dental bridges are a safe and effective treatment for missing teeth, but it is important to be aware of the potential risks involved before consenting to treatment. If you have any concerns, discuss them with your dentist before proceeding.

How Do You Care For Your Dental Bridge?

Taking care of your dental bridge is important to maintain its strength and durability and to ensure that it lasts for many years.

Here are a few tips on how to properly care for your dental bridge:

  • Brush your teeth at least twice daily, using a soft-bristled toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste. Be sure to brush gently so as not to damage the bridge.
  • It is especially important to carefully floss around and under your dental bridge. Use a dental floss threader at least once a day.
  • Rinse with an antibacterial mouthwash both morning and night.
  • Avoid eating hard foods that can damage your dental bridge.
  • Try not to chew on ice or other hard objects.
  • Be aware of and seek management for teeth grinding habits.
  • Visit your dentist regularly for check-ups and professional cleanings. It’s important to have your dental bridge checked and cleaned on a regular basis to prevent problems like gum disease.

By following these simple tips, you can help keep your dental bridge clean and healthy for many years to come!

What Are The Treatment Alternatives To Dental Bridges?

While dental bridges are a common and effective dental prosthetic used to replace missing teeth, there are a few alternatives that you may want to consider.

Each treatment option has its own advantages and disadvantages, and the right option for each patient will depend on several factors, including:

  • the number of missing teeth
  • the location of the missing teeth
  • the overall health of the patient’s mouth

Your dentist can help you to decide which of the following treatment options is suitable for you after a thorough assessment of your case.

Dental Implants

Dental implants are titanium posts that are surgically implanted into the jawbone and act as artificial tooth roots. Once the implants have fused with the jawbone, they can support dental crowns, bridges, or dentures.

Dental implants are a great option for people who want a dental prosthetic that looks, feels, and functions just like their natural teeth.

Partial Dentures

Another alternative to dental bridges is partial dentures. Partial dentures are dental prosthetics that replace one or more missing teeth and the surrounding tissues. They are usually made of metal and acrylic and are removable for cleaning.

Partial dentures require less care than dental bridges and can be a good option for people who want an affordable and low-maintenance dental prosthetic.

If you are considering dental bridges, be sure to talk to your dentist about all of your options to find the one that suits you best.

Is It Difficult To Eat With A Dental Bridge?

If you have a dental bridge, you may be wondering whether it will be difficult to eat with. While some people find that this is true, the good news is that most people don’t. Eating with your dental bridge may feel unusual during the first few weeks. However, after a while, you’ll eventually get used to it.

There are a few things that you can do to make the process easier, though.

  1. You may need to adjust the way you bite and chew your food. It might take a little practice, but you’ll get the hang of it in no time.
  2. Cut your food into small pieces so that you can chew it more easily.
  3. Be careful with hard and sticky foods. These can damage your dental bridge or even cause it to come loose.
  4. Take your time eating and focus on chewing slowly and evenly.
  5. Be sure to brush and floss your teeth thoroughly before each meal. This will help to remove any food particles that could get stuck under your dental bridge.
    If you follow these tips, you should find that eating with a dental bridge is not difficult at all.

Will The Dental Bridge Change How I Speak?

If you’re considering a dental bridge, you may be wondering if it will have an effect on the way you speak.

Dental bridges are unlikely to cause any significant changes to your speech patterns. However, it’s possible that you may need to make some slight adjustments at first, particularly if the dental bridge is placed in the front of your mouth.

Some people find that their tongue needs to get used to the new dental bridge, and as a result, some words may sound different. This generally goes away on its own after a few days or weeks.

Additionally, you may find that you have a slight lisp when you first get your dental bridge, but this is because you are not used to having the dental bridge in your mouth. Soon enough, you will get used to the dental bridge, and you will not even notice it.

With time and practice, however, most people adjust to their new dental bridge and return to normal speech patterns.

Are Dental Bridges Covered By Medicare?

The answer to whether Medicare covers dental bridges is that it depends on the individual case.

Medicare generally covers dental services that are considered to be medically necessary. This means that treatments like dental bridges, which are considered to be cosmetic in nature, are not typically covered.

However, there may be some exceptions. For example, Medicare may provide some coverage if a dental bridge is needed to correct a bite issue.

In addition, if you have a dental condition affecting your eating or speaking ability, you may also be eligible for coverage.

If you’re unsure whether Medicare would cover your particular case, the proper thing to do is to talk to your dentist or healthcare provider. They will be able to give you more specific information about what dental services are covered by Medicare.

How Much Do Dental Bridges Cost?

There are different types of dental bridges, and the cost of each type can vary depending on several factors, such as:

  • Type of bridge:
    Some types of dental bridges may be more expensive than others. The four most common types of bridges are traditional, cantilever, implant-supported, and Maryland.

  • Materials used:
    The type of materials used to make your dental bridge can also affect the cost. Porcelain bridges tend to be more expensive than bridges made with other materials, such as metal.

  • Number of teeth involved:
    If you need a bridge to support multiple teeth, it will be more expensive than a bridge that supports only one tooth.

  • Complexity of the procedure:
    The complexity of the procedure can also affect the cost. And, if you’re in need of additional procedures before dental bridge placement, these may add to the overall fees.

  • Insurance coverage:
    Some insurance plans cover the cost of dental bridges, while others do not. If your insurance plan covers the cost of a dental bridge, you may only be responsible for paying your deductible and coinsurance. However, if this is not the case, you will be responsible for the full cost of the procedure.

  • Dentist’s fee:
    The fee charged by your dentist will also affect the cost of dental bridges. Dentists’ fees can vary based on their experience and location.

Typically, the cost of dental bridges is as follows:

  • Traditional dental bridge: $4,300-$5,800
  • Cantilever dental bridge: $2,700-$4,100
  • Maryland dental bridge: $1,100-$1,600
  • Implant-supported dental bridge: $6,300-$9,500

The type of dental bridge that is right for you will depend on your specific needs and situation. If you are considering a dental bridge, be sure to discuss all of your options with your dentist to find the right treatment option for you.

Final Thoughts

Dental bridges are a great way to replace one or more missing teeth. They can give you back your smile and help you chew and speak properly.

If you are considering a dental bridge, talk to your dentist about your options to find the best type of dental bridge that suits you.

Clear Choice Dental can provide you with high-quality dental bridges. We offer different types of dental bridges at our two clinics in Yokine and Maddington.

Call us today at (08) 9345 0455 in Yokine or (08) 9452 8877 in Maddington to schedule an appointment. You may also book an appointment online through our website. Get in touch with us today, and let us help you get your smile back!

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