HEALTH

Dental Bridges

Loosing a tooth has been a natural occurrence especially for kids and teenagers who are in the puberty stage. At that age, the tooth is allowed to develop into the permanent teeth. 

Now, what do you think happens when one loses a permanent tooth? Knowing it can’t replace itself naturally, what can be done?

A number of artificial measures has been introduced in order to restore the normal look of the teeth. If your guess is as good as mine, you should think of “dental bridges”.

What are dental bridges?

A dental bridge is a false tooth that is held in place by the abutment teeth on either side of the gap. It is made up of several pieces that are fused together to fit into the open space where a natural tooth used to be.

It can be used to replace anywhere from one to four teeth, depending on the patient’s need. Dental bridges are an alternative to partial dentures, they serve both practical and aesthetic purposes enabling the patient to eat and speak better as well as restoring the appearance of the teeth.

What are dental bridges made of?

When making a dental bridge, a list of common materials can used. It is noteworthy that each of these materials have their own purposes.

Some of these materials include:

* Gold

* Porcelain

* Nickle Titanium

* Cobalt

* Zirconia

However, they are typically made with porcelain so that they can blend easily with the natural teeth.

Types of Dental bridges

Research has shown that there are four main types of dental bridges. They include:

Traditional dental bridge: This consists of a false tooth or teeth being held in place by dental crowns that have been cemented onto each of the abutment teeth. It is the most popular type of dental bridge.

Cantilever dental bridge: This is similar to a traditional bridge. However unlike traditional, the pontic in a cantilever dental bridge is held in place by a dental crown that is cemented to only one abutment teeth.

 Maryland dental bridge: Still similar to the traditional bridge, this kind of dental bridge however in contrast with the traditional dental bridge employs two abutment teeth, one on each side of the gap.

While a traditional bridge uses dental crowns on the abutment teeth, a Maryland bridge uses a framework of either a metal or porcelain that is bonded onto the backs of the abutment teeth.

 Implant-supported dental bridge: This type of dental bridge uses dental implants as opposed to crowns or framework, thus the name “implavt supported”. Surgically, one implant is placed for every missing tooth and these implants hold the bridge in position.

This is considered the strongest and most stable system.

How much does a dental bridge cost?

The cost of a dental bridge varies depending on the type of bridge selected.

A traditional or cantilever bridge costs about 2,000 – 5,000 US dollars for one pontic and a crown for each abutment tooth

A Maryland bridge costs about 1,500 to 2,500 US dollars for one pontic with the framework attached to the abutment teeth.

An Implant-support bridge could cost 5,000 to 15,000 US dollars for a bridge with two dental implants spanning three or four teeth.

Who is fit to get a dental bridge?

Anyone could get a dental bridge as long as he or she is

* Missing one or more permanent teeth

* Having overall good health without any severe health conditjns, infections or other health problems

* Having good oral health

* Performing good oral hygiene to maintain the condition of the dental bridge.

How long does a dental bridge last?

Dr David Hundall DMD says “Dental bridges are a wonderful solution for replacing missing teeth. However, nothing man-made lasts forever. Even bridgework that was placed by the most skilled clinician will eventually require replacement sometime.”

Research has shown that an average dental bridge lasts between five and eight years although some can last more than a decade. It is however important to note that the durability of a dental bridge would be impacted by an adequate dental and oral care. It is essential to brush and floss the bridge at least twice each day

Dietary changes that accompany a dental bridge

There are some foods which should be avoided in the long run because they could cause problems for the bridge or abutment teeth. Such foods include:

* Chewy or sticky candy

* Hard candy or snacks 

* Sugary foods

* Popcorn

* Nuts

Common problems with Dental bridges

 Dental bridges can be affected by poor oral hygiene habits and if not properly taken care of can lead to bacteria buildup along the gum line. Some dental bridge problems include:

 Food trap: A poorly fitting device can create an open space between the bridge and the gum line where particles can accumulate. If a proper oral hygiene is not practised, this can pave way for growth of bacteria in the mouth. This could eventually cause bad breath and in worst cases lead to the weakening of the anchor teeth supporting the bridge and thus resulting to bridge loosening and eventual loss.

 Development of Tartar: Once bacteria develops and is combined with saliva, plague begins to form in the mouth and if not eliminated, plague can harden into tartar. Tartar leads to gingivitis and eventually, will lead to periodontal disease if not treated by a dental professional.

Bridge damage: Patients are advised to avoid chewing extensively on foods such as raw vegetables, hard candies and ice. These foods would lead to bridge damage which may require repair or replacement.

Resolving Dental bridge problems

Dental bridge problems can be handled by applying preventive measures which are crucial to preserving the bridge.

These measures include:

* Ensuring that the bridge fits before leaving the dentist or prosthodontist’s office.

* Avoiding foods known to cause problems particularly hard or sticky foods

*Practicing good oral hygiene

* Scheduling regular checkups to ensure the bridge is intact and performing as it should

* Using a toothbrush designed to clean the hard-to-reach areas

* Getting regular professional dental cleaning to prevent gingivitis and other oral diseases.

When properly cared for, a quality dental bridge could last long enough but in all, it is very important to keep in mind that dental bridges is not considered to be a permanent solution for missing teeth


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