Dental bridges: types, what they are for and when to use

What is a dental bridge

A dental bridge is defined as any prosthesis that is cemented, screwed, mechanically coupled or otherwise retained in natural teeth, dental roots or implants. These, in turn, function as a primary support for the prosthesis, restoring the teeth of a partially edentulous region, and it is not possible for the patient to remove it.

Decomplexing, a dental bridge is a fixed prosthesis that will fill a tooth absence by supporting and also rehabilitating the teeth, roots or implants that limit this space.

When to use dental bridges? What are worth for?

The main indication for placing a dental bridge is the rehabilitation of missing teeth. In other words, the fixed bridges aim to replace one or more teeth that were previously lost using the teeth around that same toothing as support pillars. This type of prosthesis thus allows the recovery of correct chewing, occlusion and aesthetics, keeping other teeth in the right position, preventing movements to compensate for missing teeth.

Dental bridges are more effective and indicated for people who have lost only a few teeth, since their placement (of bridges) implies that they need to be “anchored” to adjacent teeth. Of course, if you have lost more than three teeth, for example, bridges begin to be an unsuitable solution for you.

Types of dental bridges

There are at least three types of dental bridges, they are essentially distinguished by the way in which they are fixed, see the following illustration:

Now you can see what each of the aforementioned dental bridges consists of:

  • Dental bridge that rests on adjacent teeth: it is a type of bridge that supports teeth close to the place where the absence of teeth occurs. The dental crowns are "glued" to these teeth and the entire prosthesis is immobilized.
  • Bridge that rests on adjacent teeth through metal “plates” - unlike the previous type of bridge, instead of using crowns to consolidate in place, they use adjacent teeth in the same way as support, but attach to them with two metal plates that “stick” to the back of these.
  • Bridge that rests on a single tooth - has a way of fixing similar to the first dental bridge mentioned in this list, with the difference of doing it only on a single tooth. Nevertheless, they are safe and have good stability.

How long does it take to have your bridge?

It is important that you know that the type of bridge needed and the time it takes for you to have it properly, will depend on the severity and type of problem to be solved.

Usually, at least four consultations are necessary until your bridge is placed and in most cases, the time spent from the beginning to the end of the treatment, depends more on the dental laboratory, than on your dentist.

How is a bridge made?

In a simplified way, a traditional fixed bridge is composed of several dental crowns joined together, with the ends functioning as retaining elements, which will rest on the abutment teeth, and the intermediate (s) as a pontic to replace the tooth (s) (s) missing.

There are some modifications to this classic scheme, such as the Maryland bridges, which use only supports instead of crowns as retainers, and the cantilever bridges, which require only one abutment tooth, making the pontic partly suspended. Although less invasive, these solutions nevertheless have very specific indications.

What materials are used?

Since fixed bridges are, as a general rule, interconnected dental crowns, any material used to make these pieces in unit form will be able to be used for the manufacture of bridges. And despite the various materials available, this type of rehabilitation has also seen a natural trend towards the use of ceramics as the product of choice, due to the aesthetic aspect it presents.

Given its high resistance, zirconia is one of the most used ceramics, as well as the most recent ceramic, developed for dentistry, the lithium disilicate ceramic.

How will the visits to the dentist be?

At the first appointment, the dentist will begin removing the enamel from the abutment teeth to make the dental preparation for the crowns. Then, he will remove the mold for the construction of the bridge by a dental technician. The dentist will make a temporary bridge to be used while the permanent bridge is not ready. For the final execution, some consultations are necessary for the tests of the phases of construction of the bridge.

In the final consultation, the temporary bridge is removed and the permanent bridge is cemented to check the fit. You may have to go back to the office once more to ensure that the function of the bridge is optimal.

Bridge care and maintenance tips

The permanent bridge must receive the same care as the permanent teeth. Cleaning between the teeth is essential, and for this the use of an interdental brush and / or dental floss is essential. It is also important to brush your teeth twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste.

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