Dental bridges are used to replace multiple missing teeth that have gaps adjacent to each other. It is important to replace missing teeth not only for the obvious aesthetic reasons, but also to improve the overall functionality of your mouth. It’s very easy to take our teeth for granted, but when you have lost some teeth it can impact the way you break down food and can even make it too difficult to enjoy some of your favourite foods.
Dental bridges comprise of dental crowns that are situated either side of the missing tooth. The crowned teeth are used to anchor and secure the new bridge in place. The false teeth in-between the bridge are called pontics and can be made from a number of materials depending on your needs (gold, alloys, porcelain or even a combination of these).
Depending on the locations of your missing teeth and the bone density of your jaw, there may be a number of suitable treatment options available to you:
- Implant retained bridge – our sister practice has an implants dentist who can place the implants and then securely fit a dental bridge on top
- Partial dentures – these are dentures that are made to fit around your remaining teeth to give you a nice full set again
- Dental bridge – a dental bridge will be made to replace your missing teeth and utilize your remaining teeth to be held in place through precision attachments
At our dental assessments we will always examine your teeth and discuss with you the options that are available and suitable for you, so you can decide which route you would like to go down.
Why Would I Need a Dental Bridge?
The main advantages associated to bridges are:
- It will help give you functionality back when chewing and talking
- It will give you your smile back, replacing those gaps
- It will stop your teeth from moving into the gaps where the missing teeth were (causing crookedness)
- It will help equalize your bite
What Types of Dental Bridges Are There?
There are three different types of bridges that can be used.
Traditional Dental Bridges – are the most commonly used type of bridge. Dental crowns will be used on the adjacent teeth surrounding the gap (natural tooth or implant). The bridge will then consist of false teeth called pontics to complete your smile.
Maryland Dental Bridges – this type of bridges consists of a metal framework with a porcelain tooth on the front. The metal framework is in essence wings on either side of the new tooth, and they are then used to secure this bridge in place. The benefit of this bridge, is that the adjacent teeth do not need to be prepared or crowned, as the metal wings are bonded to the backs of the adjacent teeth. However, the downside to these bridges are the fact teeth are translucent, and the metal framework behind the adjacent teeth can be visible in the form of a shadow behind the teeth.
Cantilever Bridges – in certain situations, you may not have adjacent teeth on both sides to support the bridge in place. This is when we would consider using a cantilever bridge. The way these bridges are supported by having the crowned teeth next to each other, with the pontic (replacement tooth) at the end. In some scenarios we may only need to crown one tooth, but it is case dependent depending on how much support is required to hold the bridge in place.
Which Material Is Best For Dental Bridges
There are a number of materials we can use to make bridges:
Gold – this was historically the most common choice used when making bridges. It is very strong and bio-compatible (so causes no irritations in the mouth). But the main reason it’s not used very often anymore is because it doesn’t blend in with your smile, and there is often a negative stigma attached to having gold in the mouth.
Porcelain – this is our preferred material and is also the most common used nowadays. It is the same material used in crowns and veneers. They are very discrete as they can be easily made to match your teeth. Porcelain is strong, but it’s not as strong as gold so it does require more tooth preparation to complete the treatment. This type of material is better suited for the front parts of the mouth.
Metal & Porcelain – in parts of the mouth which experience a high level of pressure (back teeth) and you also want to have a discrete option, this utilises a metal framework with porcelain fused on. This material is strong and durable, but also blends in better than just the gold material. One downside to this material is that the metal is usually visible at the bottom of the teeth and doesn’t look as natural.
Zirconia – this is the highest quality of material available at the moment. It really gives you the best of both worlds. It is virtually indestructible, and it is more translucent than ceramic. They are perfectly created to blend in with your smile and give you a natural looking restoration.
Book Your Dental Assessment Today
To find out which treatment option is best for you we recommend booking in for a dental assessment with one of our trained professional clinicians so they are able to identify the suitable options for you, and also to determine what you are trying to achieve.
Please call us to start your journey to a healthier smile…