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Dental Bridges

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Dental Bridges

What is a Dental Bridge?

A dental bridge is a type of dental restoration that is used to replace one or more missing teeth. It includes one or more artificial teeth that are anchored in place by dental crowns are attached to the natural teeth on either side of the gap. 

Dental bridges may be a good alternative if dental implants are not suitable for you, and if you would like a fixed (non-removable) tooth replacement option instead of a removable denture.

Benefits of the procedure

By replacing missing teeth, dental bridges can provide several benefits

  • Restoring the ability to speak and chew properly 
  • Improving the appearance of your smile 
  • Preventing the remaining natural teeth from shifting out of place

A dental bridge may also be a more cost-effective option compared to a dental implant

Risks of the procedure

Similar to natural teeth, a dental bridge requires maintenance. It requires regular brushing, flossing and routine dental checkups to ensure their longevity and effectiveness. It is possible for bridges to break down over time and require repair or replacement. Tooth decay on abutment teeth (teeth anchoring the artificial teeth) is also possible and can compromise a dental bridge. 

Some patients may have specific risks of embarking on the procedure due to the presence of existing dental or medical conditions. Your dentist will discuss with you your particular risks (if any) during your consultation.

Is this procedure right for me?

You may consider a dental bridge if you have a missing tooth or teeth and wish to fill in the gap. If you are considering replacing missing teeth, a consultation with your dentist can help you  determine if a dental bridge is a good choice for your specific dental condition and needs. Your dentist can also discuss other possible alternatives (e.g. implants, dentures, orthodontics) that you may want to consider.

What does this procedure involve?

The procedure is similar to that of getting a dental crown

  • Firstly, a consultation with the dentist is required to check your overall dental health and suitability for a dental bridge. 
  • The procedure of getting a dental bridge usually spans 2 appointments. The first appointment is for preparation of the teeth and an impression (tooth mould). The second appointment is for final placement of the fabricated dental bridge. For more complex cases, more than 2 appointments may sometimes be required.
  • During the first appointment, the supporting teeth are prepared (shaved down slightly) to accommodate space for the dental bridge. Where there may be decay, damaged parts of the tooth will be removed and cleaned. Next, an impression or a digital scan is taken. The dentist will then select the shade and colour of the bridge with you in order to ensure that the final shape, colour and contour of the restoration is aesthetic, functional and facilitates good oral hygiene. Together with the impressions/digital scans, these details are relayed to the dental laboratory so that they will be able to custom-make a well-fitting bridge that blends in harmoniously with the surrounding teeth.
  • While waiting for the permanent bridge to be made (this usually takes at least a few days), the dentist will place a temporary tooth-coloured bridge to protect the prepared teeth. The temporary bridge also mimics the final bridge and the dentist may sometimes use this temporary bridge to determine the most suitable bridge design for your dental condition and bite. 
  • Once the permanent bridge is ready, the dentist will remove the temporary bridge, check the fit of the bridge, and cement it into place with a strong dental adhesive.Your dentist will then carry out some final adjustments and a finishing polish to ensure that the bridge is harmonious with your function and bite.

Types of dental bridges 

Conventional Bridge

A conventional bridge is composed of “connected crowns” that uses natural teeth on either side of a missing space to support the pontics (artificial tooth/teeth). This is an especially advantageous option when teeth adjacent to the gap are already weakened by decay/damage and will benefit from a dental crown.

Cantilever Bridge

A cantilever bridge is used to replace a single missing tooth. It uses the tooth adjacent to the gap as a retainer to hold the cantilever bridge in place. Only certain teeth are suitable to have a cantilever bridge so do consult the dentist to check if you can have a cantilever bridge. If the supporting tooth is affected by periodontal disease (gum disease), it may not be recommended to withstand a cantilever bridge.

Resin-bonded-bridge or Maryland Bridge

Resin-bonded-bridge (RBB) is a conservative method to restore the space of a missing tooth or two missing lower front teeth. It requires minimal to no removal of healthy tooth structure on the supporting teeth. It is a good intermediate long term option to restore a small gap. They can be made from materials such as PFM, zirconia, or resin composite.

  1. Reshaping of the tooth: The supporting teeth are prepared (shaved down) to accommodate space for the dental bridge. Where there may be decay, damaged parts of the tooth will be removed. 
  2. Dental Impression: Next, a dental mould or digital scan of the dental arch is taken and sent to technicians at a dental laboratory. The dental laboratory then uses this impression to fabricate a custom-made dental bridge that matches the size, shape, and colour of the surrounding teeth.
  3. Temporisation: While waiting for the permanent bridge from the lab, your dentist will place a temporary dental bridge to protect the prepared teeth. The temporary bridge also mimics the final bridge and the dentist may sometimes use this temporary dental bridge to determine the most suitable bridge design for your dental condition and bite. 
  4. Fit and Cementation of the Final Dental Bridge: Once the permanent dental bridge is ready, the dentist will check the fit and may make further customised adjustments if required. Then, the dental bridge will be cemented onto the tooth with a strong dental adhesive.

Benefits Of Getting A Dental Bridge
By replacing missing teeth, dental bridges can provide several benefits which include: 

  • Restoring the ability to speak and chew properly 
  • Improving the appearance of your smile 
  • Preventing the remaining natural teeth from shifting out of place
  • A possible suitable alternative in cases where a dental implant cannot be placed due to reasons such as medical issues, anatomical limitations, costs, etc.

A dental bridge is a potential option to fill a gap caused by missing teeth. Consulting with your dentist will help determine if it’s suitable for your specific dental condition. They can also discuss alternative solutions like implants, dentures, or orthodontics.

With proper care and maintenance, dental bridges can last for many years. Regular dental check-ups and good oral hygiene practices are important for their longevity.

No. The procedure is usually performed under local anaesthesia, ensuring that you are comfortable and pain-free during the treatment.

Yes, dental bridges allow you to eat a wide variety of foods. However, it is recommended to avoid excessively hard foods that may damage the bridge. Practicing good oral hygiene and returning for your regular dental check ups are also crucial to help maintain the condition of your dental bridges and the health of their supporting teeth.

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