There are many different treatments available for badly damaged or decayed teeth, but unfortunately sometimes a tooth is beyond repair, leaving an unsightly gap in your smile. Gaps between your teeth can seriously knock your confidence, and can even have a negative impact on the functionality of your other teeth and the overall use of your mouth. This is due to the fact that after time, your remaining teeth can take advantage of the space to shift around slightly, causing misalignment and a range of other associated dental problems.
Dental bridges fill the gap where the missing tooth would have been. They do this using a false tooth, which looks and feels just like the real thing. The false tooth also holds the remaining teeth either side in place so that they don’t shift into the space.
Dental bridges are comprised of two or more crowns for the teeth on either side of the gap. These act as anchors for the false tooth/teeth that will fill the gap. Once your dental bridge is in place, it should be virtually imperceptible. The anchored teeth are often referred to as abutment teeth and the false teeth are often called pontics.
The pontics can be made from a number of different materials including metal alloys, gold or porcelain, depending on what cosmetic finish you want to achieve. If you choose porcelain, they can be color-matched to your existing teeth so that they look completely natural.
There are a number of benefits of having dental bridge. They can:
Prevent your remaining teeth from shifting position.
Help you bite and/or chew properly.
Correct your bite.
Properly align your jaw.
Maintain the shape of your face.
Give you a great smile.
There are three main varieties of dental bridge, and the type your dentist recommends will vary depending on where in your mouth the missing teeth are located.
A traditional bridge is the most commonly recommended treatment for missing teeth. It involves creating crowns to go on the teeth either side of the gap which act as anchors for the pontic which sits in-between them. Traditional bridges are usually made from porcelain that has been fused to ceramic or metal.
Also sometimes referred to as a Maryland bonded bridge, this type of bridge can be created in a variety of material including porcelain fused to metal, complete porcelain or sometimes plastic teeth and gums that are supported by a porcelain or metal framework. The wings found on each side of the bridge, usually made from metal or porcelain, are securely bonded to your natural teeth.
Cantilever bridges are used when there are only existing teeth that can be used as anchors on one side of the gap. In the past there have been problems with cantilever bridges being used in the back of the mouth as they were found to exert too much pressure on the anchor tooth, causing damage and even breakages.