A dental bridge is a set of false teeth that can be used to replace missing or damaged teeth. They are one of many potential procedures that can be used to treat a damaged tooth. As the name suggests, they utilize a bridge in order to hold the false tooth in place. The false tooth is anchored to one or more of the remaining teeth. Aside from dental bridges, implants are another common solution used by dentists when an adult tooth breaks, decays, or gets lost.
There are actually a variety of dental bridges. Three of the most common types include traditional bridges, Maryland bridges, and cantilever bridges. The false tooth is usually made of porcelain or other materials that mimic the look and feel of real teeth. Traditional bridges are the most common. The pontics (false tooth) is anchored to a tooth on either side. The anchor is usually in the form of a dental crown. The supporting teeth are gently filed down and then capped with dental crowns that hold the false tooth or teeth in place. Maryland bridges work by attaching the false tooth to just a single tooth. This is commonly used for molars in the back of the mouth. Cantilever bridges anchor teeth on only one side. This is often used when there is a sizeable gap between teeth and a traditional bridge wouldn’t work. Cantilever bridges are not recommended for back molars as they cannot withstand high stress.
Most dental bridge appointments require two visits. At your first visit, your dentist will prepare the surrounding teeth for the bridge. This may involve filing down teeth and adding the new crowns. This procedure can take up to or over an hour. Your dentist will also need to take impressions of your teeth and will likely give you a temporary bridge to wear between appoints. About three weeks later you will have your temporary bridge replaced with a permanent one. This bridge is custom made to mimic your lost tooth and based on your bite impressions.
After getting your bridge, it should begin to feel pretty normal. Your bite should feel normal as well and it might take some getting used to. At first you should eat soft food and avoid hot or cold foods as your gums and surrounding teeth might be a little bit sensitive. To maximize the lifespan of your dental bridge you should brush and floss regularly. There are tools designed to make flossing with a dental bridge easier that you should ask your dentist about.