When it comes to restoring your smile after losing a tooth or a couple of teeth, modern dentistry offers a multitude of solutions. Among these, dental bridges emerge as one of the most trusted and time-tested options. Just as the name implies, these ‘bridges’ fill in the gap left by missing teeth, providing both functional benefits and aesthetic appeal. But how do dental bridges actually work?
What is a dental bridge?
A dental bridge, quite literally, bridges the gap created by one or more missing teeth in your mouth. It’s a custom-made false tooth or teeth, known as a pontic, that is held in place by the support from the teeth on either side of the gap. Although pontics can be made from a variety of materials, including gold, they’re commonly crafted from porcelain to blend in seamlessly with your natural teeth.
There are several types of dental bridges, each designed to cater to specific situations and patient needs.
- Traditional Dental Bridges: The most popular kind, traditional bridges consist of one or more pontics (false tooth or teeth) held in place by dental crowns cemented onto the teeth adjacent to your missing tooth or teeth.
- Cantilever Bridges: Unlike traditional bridges, a cantilever bridge is held in place by a dental crown that is cemented to only one abutment tooth. This option is used when there are adjacent teeth on only one side of the missing tooth or teeth.
- Maryland Bridges: Also known as a resin-bonded bridge, this type involves the use of a metal or porcelain framework bonded onto the backs of the abutment teeth. This option requires no crowns, thus preserving the healthy adjacent teeth.
- Implant-Supported Bridges: In cases where more than one tooth is missing, an implant-supported bridge may be recommended. Rather than being supported by crowns or frameworks, these bridges are supported by dental implants. Generally, one implant is surgically placed for every missing tooth, and these implants hold the bridge in position.
Each type of dental bridge offers its own set of advantages and potential considerations, so it’s important to discuss these options with your dentist to determine the best solution for your unique dental needs.
How dental bridges are done
Getting a dental bridge usually involves multiple visits to your dentist. Here’s a step-by-step overview of what you can expect:
- Preparation of Abutment Teeth: The process begins with the preparation of the abutment teeth. This involves recontouring these teeth by removing a portion of enamel to allow room for a crown to be placed over them. Next, impressions of your teeth are made, which will serve as a model from which the bridge, pontic, and crowns will be made by a dental lab.
- Temporary Bridge: Your dentist will make and install a temporary bridge to protect the exposed teeth and gums while your dental bridge is being made.
- Fitting of the Bridge: During the next visit, the temporary bridge is removed, and the new porcelain or metal bridge is checked and adjusted as necessary to achieve a proper fit.
- Cementing the Bridge: Once the fit of the bridge is fine-tuned, it is cemented into place.
- Follow-up Visits: Additional visits may be necessary to check and adjust the fit of the bridge and the bite to ensure that it is comfortable.
The total time frame can vary, but generally, you can expect to have your dental bridge completed in two to three weeks.
Are dental bridges removable and can they be replaced?
Dental bridges are typically fixed, semi-permanent solutions for missing teeth. This means they are not intended to be removed on a regular basis like dentures. Instead, they are cemented to the natural teeth or implants surrounding the empty space, providing a sturdy and long-lasting replacement for the missing tooth.
Over time, however, a dental bridge may need replacement due to normal wear and tear, or if the supporting teeth or bone become diseased. The longevity of a dental bridge varies depending on many factors, including the type of bridge, the materials used, and the patient’s oral hygiene habits. On average, dental bridges can last between 5 to 15 years, or even longer with good oral care.
In case a bridge becomes loose or damaged, it’s important not to try and remove or adjust it yourself. Instead, make an appointment with your dentist as soon as possible. At Dentistry on Coolum, we can assess the situation and provide the necessary treatment, which may involve repairing or replacing the bridge. Remember, regular check-ups can help identify potential problems early on, ensuring your dental bridge lasts as long as possible.
The cost of dental bridges
The cost of dental bridges in Australia can vary widely, depending on a number of factors. These include the type of bridge, the number of teeth that need to be replaced, the materials used, and any additional treatments that may be necessary to prepare for the bridge. It’s also worth noting that the cost of dental bridges often reflects the complexity of the procedure and the skill of the dental practitioner.
At Dentistry on Coolum, we understand that the cost of dental treatments can sometimes be a concern for patients. That’s why we aim to provide a transparent pricing structure and offer a range of payment options to help manage the cost of your dental care. This includes offering payment plans, which allow the cost of your treatment to be spread over a period of time, making it more manageable.
Do dental bridges hurt?
A common concern many patients have when considering dental bridges is whether the process will be painful. The process of getting a dental bridge involves preparing the teeth on either side of the gap for crowns, taking impressions, and placing the bridge. This is usually performed under local anaesthesia, which means you should not feel any pain during the procedure.
After the procedure, it’s not uncommon to experience some sensitivity or discomfort around the area, particularly once the anaesthesia wears off. This is typically mild and can be managed with over-the-counter pain relief medication. Your dentist will provide you with clear post-procedure care instructions to help manage any discomfort and promote healing.
Remember, everyone’s experience with dental procedures can be a little different. What’s most important is that you communicate with our dental team about any concerns or discomfort you may have.
Dental bridges at Dentistry on Coolum
It’s clear to see how dental bridges work as an effective solution to missing teeth but as always, it’s important to consult with a professional dentist to discuss which dental treatments are suitable for you. Our team at Dentistry on Coolum is committed to helping you navigate these decisions, ensuring you receive care that is tailored to your specific needs.
Are you considering a dental bridge? Or do you have more questions about this restorative dental treatment? Don’t hesitate to contact us at Dentistry on Coolum. We’re more than happy to schedule a consultation to discuss your oral health and determine the best treatment options for you.