Dental bridges do just what you might think. They bridge a gap in your mouth in much the same way a river or canyon is bridged by a construct of metal and or wood. Depending on where the bridge is in your mouth, your smile is restored and often, no one knows it is a bridge. If you have one or more missing teeth, you will want to check with your Gainesville dentist to see if you are a good candidate for a bridge.
If you wonder what purpose a bridge might serve, here are a few of the reasons to consider getting a bridge to fill those empty spaces.
- The ability to speak or chew properly will be restored
- Your smile will once again look healthy and full
- The space caused by missing teeth will not continue to widen
- Further decay or infection can be avoided
Typically, a bridge is composed of two teeth being capped to serve as anchors for the false teeth placed between the capped teeth. The number of false teeth needed is based on the number of teeth missing from the area. Pontics is another name for these false teeth.
Three types of bridges are the most commonly used:
- Traditional bridges – This is the most common type of bridge. It requires two abutment teeth and at least one pontic tooth. The material used for this type of bridge is most often porcelain-fused-metal to give the teeth a more natural look while supplying the maximum amount of strength.
- Maryland-bonded bridges – Bridges of this type are composed of a metal framework with resin or plastic teeth fitted into the frame. The framework is secured to the gums while flanges on each end are secured to existing abutment teeth.
- Cantilever bridges – If you have only one tooth that can be used as an abutment tooth and the bridge is not for replacing molars, this could be a good option. Cantilever bridges are not used as often any more but are sometimes still a good choice when restoring a natural looking smile.
Having a bridge put in place is not a complicated procedure and can be done in two visits. During the first visit, the abutment teeth are made ready and impressions will be made to mold the teeth and form the bridge. On the second visit, the bridge is thoroughly inspected and put in place. Some patients may require follow-up visits to make adjustments. During the second visit and any subsequent visits, patients will learn the best ways to maintain their bridges to keep them in good repair and looking great.
Some of the most common materials used to make bridges have already been mentioned but speak with your Gainesville dentist about what other materials may be available to see if there is one or more you might prefer that fits your budget. Some other options include alumina, steel, gold, zirconia and porcelain. Whether some of these materials would be a good option for you will depend not only on your budget but also your dental condition and where the bridge will be placed.
If you have some teeth missing, talk to your Gainesville dentist today to find out if a bridge might be the right solution for you.