dental-bridge

Dental bridge procedure, Advantage, Cost and Aftercare

Table of Contents

What is a dental bridge?

A dental bridge is a custom-made replacement of one or more teeth missing in the mouth.

It mimics the shape, look and function of natural teeth and helps with efficient chewing of food even after the natural teeth are lost. A dental bridge restores the bite after loss of natural teeth and helps keep the natural shape of the face.

If you have teeth missing in your mouth and want to get them replaced, keep reading to educate yourself on how exactly dental bridges are made, what benefits they can bring to you and a lot more.

A dental bridge connects two teeth by filling the gap in between with an artificially fabricated tooth.  A dental bridge derives support from two teeth present on either sides of a missing tooth.

So a dental  bridge consists of two crowns on supporting teeth and an artificial tooth in the center, all rigidly  joined together to form a fixed dental bridge. Once this kind of dental bridge is fixed in its place by the dentist, it looks and functions just like natural teeth.

Why you need a bridge?

A person may require placement of a dental bridge following extraction of teeth that are extensively decayed, tooth loss due to trauma or injury, teeth lost due to severe gum disease or due to old age.

All our teeth (upper and lower) work together to carry out the function of chewing. Even if a single tooth in the mouth is missing it causes a serious trouble.

When you lose a tooth, the nearby teeth may shift or tilt into the empty space. The teeth from the opposite jaw may also shift up or down into the space. (loop video)

All these disturbances in your teeth affect your bite and place more stress on the teeth and jaw joint, eventually causing symptoms of pain in the jaw joint or early decay of teeth.

Teeth that have tilted or shifted from their original position are harder to clean. This puts them at a higher risk for tooth decay and gum disease.

Also, after a tooth has been removed, the supporting jaw bone shrinks. A decrease in the level of jaw bone does not support the lip and cheeks adequately, making the face look older.

What Are the Benefits of Dental Bridges?

There are a number of benefits that replacing teeth with dental bridges can bring to you.

  • Dental bridges can restore your smile in case of loss of front teeth.
  • Missing front teeth causes an impairment of speech. The ability to clearly speak is also restored with dental bridges.
  • Chewing efficiency can be increased if dental bridges are placed on back teeth as it enables the person to chew food, thus making digestion better.
  • Natural teeth support the musculature of lip and cheeks and so does a dental bridge keeping the cheeks and lips well supported.
  • Replacing teeth with a dental bridge avoids over stressing other teeth and distributes the bite forces evenly between all teeth.
  • If missing teeth are replaced at the right time, shifting of other teeth out of position can be avoided.

Dental bridge Procedure video

Dental Bridge Procedure: Step-By-Step

The procedure of getting a dental bridge is generally completed in 2 appointments as explained below:

First Visit — Tooth Preparation

In the first appointment, the dentist administers local anesthesia to numb the teeth to ensure you are comfortable and there is no pain during the procedure.

After the teeth have been numbed, the dentist shapes the supporting teeth of the dental bridge in a particular fashion. These supporting teeth are reduced and prepared to make room for the bridge.

During this process, the dentist ensures there is parallelism between the 2 prepared teeth so that there is a smooth path of insertion of the final bridge.

Following this, the dentist makes an impression of the teeth prepared and sends it to the dental laboratory, where the dental bridge is fabricated.

Until the final bridge is fabricated, the dentist may places a temporary bridge to cover the teeth and the empty space so as to protect the teeth in the meantime.

Dental bridge procedure

Second Visit — Final Bridge Placement

In the second appointment, after the final dental bridge has been made, the dentist will remove the temporary bridge and clean the prepared teeth to remove any plaque or food debris.

Following this, the fit of the final bridge is checked onto the teeth. The dentist may ask you to check the level of comfort by biting on the bridge.

If needed, some minor adjustments are made until the bite feels comfortable. After this, the dental bridge is fixed onto the prepared teeth with a special type of bonding cement.

In future, this dental bridge can only be removed with the help of a dentist.

Dental Bridge Aftercare

The procedure of getting a dental bridge is generally co

Patients receiving a dental bridge on their teeth should follow strict oral hygiene protocols to prolong the longevity of their teeth as well as the bridge.

The area where the artificial tooth of the dental bridge rests on the gums is difficult to clean and can harbor plaque and food debris more easily.

Thus, patients should rinse their mouth with water after every meal, brush twice daily and use an antibacterial mouthwash. Flossing between teeth is also highly recommended to avoid any decay of teeth.

Flossing between dental bridges requires additional tools, such as floss threads, super floss, or water flossers.

After the bridge is placed, it is advisable to chew on the other side for the first 24 hours. You can return to normal eating habits after this time.

It is better to avoid eating sticky food on the bridge to avoid the dental bridge from being dislodged from the teeth.

While the temporary bridge is placed on your teeth, it is best to avoid eating hard and sticky food as the temporary bridge in not very strong and is meant to only cover the newly shaped teeth.

mpleted in 2 appointments as explained below:

First Visit — Tooth Preparation

In the first appointment, the dentist administers local anesthesia to numb the teeth to ensure you are comfortable and there is no pain during the procedure.

After the teeth have been numbed, the dentist shapes the supporting teeth of the dental bridge in a particular fashion. These supporting teeth are reduced and prepared to make room for the bridge.

During this process, the dentist ensures there is parallelism between the 2 prepared teeth so that there is a smooth path of insertion of the final bridge.

Following this, the dentist makes an impression of the teeth prepared and sends it to the dental laboratory, where the dental bridge is fabricated.

Until the final bridge is fabricated, the dentist may places a temporary bridge to cover the teeth and the empty space so as to protect the teeth in the meantime.

Second Visit — Final Bridge Placement

In the second appointment, after the final dental bridge has been made, the dentist will remove the temporary bridge and clean the prepared teeth to remove any plaque or food debris.

Following this, the fit of the final bridge is checked onto the teeth. The dentist may ask you to check the level of comfort by biting on the bridge.

If needed, some minor adjustments are made until the bite feels comfortable. After this, the dental bridge is fixed onto the prepared teeth with a special type of bonding cement.

In future, this dental bridge can only be removed with the help of a dentist.

Types of materials in which bridge or crown can be made

Permanent bridges can be fabricated from a variety of biocompatible materials like metal, ceramic, tilite and zirconia.  Same like a dental crown. Read more about different material used for crown and bridges fabrication.

Frequently ask questions

How many teeth can a dental bridge cover?

It is possible to replace one or more missing teeth using a dental bridge as long as there are enough strong supporting teeth. For multiple missing teeth, more than 1 bridge may be required.

Do dental bridges damage teeth?

It is an undeniable fact that some amount of tooth structure needs to be removed for the accommodation of a bridge. But this amount is minimal and generally does not cause any problem to the teeth in early years of treatment. But the best possible way to restore lost teeth these days is by dental implants, as it does not require any grinding of teeth and is not dependent on any other teeth for support.

How long after extraction can I get a bridge?

In most cases the dentist will ask you to wait for 15 days to 1.5 months after the extraction of teeth for the placement of bridge. This period is provided so that the wounded gums heal well. In some cases, immediately a dental bridge is planned with a hygienic pontic (artificial tooth of the bridge). But this decision solely remains in the hands of a dentist.

Do dental bridges come out?

It is better to avoid eating foods that are sticky, like toffees and chewing gum. Such foods stick to the dental bridge and increase the chance of dislodgement. Such dislodged bridge can again be fixed on to the teeth with a special cement if the patient reports within a of 2-3 days.

Can you whiten a dental bridge?

Teeth whitening toothpastes and professional teeth whitening procedures work only on natural teeth. These products are ineffective on all the materials of dental bridges.

How long do dental bridges last?

On an average, a dental bridge with healthy supporting teeth can last around 8-15 years. This is possible only if good oral hygiene is maintained and annual dental visits and teeth cleaning are performed.

Why do dental bridges fail?

There can be many reasons for the failure of a dental bridge, the most common reason being decay of supporting teeth. If supporting teeth gets decay can be treated with root canal treatment.  But if supporting tooth get fracture or become weak due to gum disease may need to remove whole bridges.

What is the cost of a dental bridge?

The cost of getting a dental bridge depends on type of material used and number of teeth to be replaced.  The cost of per tooth in a metal bridge is INR 1500 onwards, whereas a ceramic bridge would cost per tooth INR 2500 onwards. This would depend on the type of ceramic bridge chosen and number of teeth to be replaced. Also, a dental laboratory using good quality dental materials and a highly skilled dentist will charge more to cover for the costs involved.

Which is better implant or bridge?

Dental implants are not dependent on other teeth for support unlike dental bridges. Thus, they are known to be better than dental bridges. Implants derive support from the jaw bone. In cases, where there is not enough bone support, other extensive surgical procedures may be required. In such a situation, more invasive procedure of dental implant can be avoided by opting for a much simpler and affordable procedure of dental bridge. At the end, your dentist is the best person to guide you, what option suits best for you.

How do I clean my dental bridge?

The care after the placement of a dental bridge is no different. Brushing teeth twice daily and rinsing mouth with water after every meal will ensure proper elimination of food particles that get stuck around the bridge and other teeth.

Besides, flossing between the supporting teeth of the bridge and other teeth is important to prevent decay and prolong the life of the bridge. Care should be taken to avoid chewing sticky food on the bridge and very hard food in case you have a ceramic bridge.

References

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