A dental bridge is made of dental porcelain which often has a metal lining inside to provide added strength, however, this is not always required and a full porcelain dental bridge can be used. A dental lab technician with expert skills and equipment in making dental bridges will be needed to make the dental bridge. A patient will need two appointments to complete the dental bridge treatment. During the first appointment, the dentist will reshape and prepare the two teeth selected to support the dental bridge to make room for the dental bridge to sit. A temporary dental bridge will be glued to the tooth for a period of around two weeks while the porcelain dental bridge is made by the lab. Once ready, a short appointment is required to remove the temporary bridge and cement the permanent dental bridge in place, and check the bite and it is accurate.
A dental bridge will most likely cover the entire crown of the two existing teeth so that no natural tooth is exposed. This ensures maximum strength of the dental bridge since these two teeth now need to do the work of three. A dental bridge procedure is usually done under local anesthetic to numb the teeth and gum while the dentist works in the area. Patients often compare having a dental bridge to having a tooth filling.
The benefit to having a dental bridge to fill in a gap left from a missing tooth are many;
- Full chewing capacity is restored
- Prevents additional load being placed on remaining teeth which could result in cracking, breaking, and further loss of more teeth
- Lowers the risk of added wear to existing teeth
- Reduces stress and deterioration overtime on the jaw and TMJ
- The smile remains complete and aesthetically pleasing
- Limits food traps
- Correct speech is maintained
- Facial features (cheeks and lips) are maintained
- Self-esteem and confidence remain
A dental bridge might not always be the best solution to replace a missing tooth. A dentist may recommend a less invasive option if the teeth on either side of the gap are healthy and have had little to no dental treatment in the past. Making room for a dental bridge to sit over the top of the new support teeth requires the dentist to remove tooth structure. Depending on your bite, this could be a little, or it could mean a significant amount of enamel needs to be removed to ensure the dental bridge is thick enough to withstand the forces it will endure.
There are a few alternatives to a dental bridge that might be suitable for your situation and budget. These may include a denture or a dental implant. A dental bridge is the middle range solution of filling in a gap and the one dentists will happily recommend as you go to gap-filling solution for its simple process, value for money, and long-term solution to restoring your dentition.