Dental Bridges in Buffalo, NY
Experienced Dentist Specializing In Dental Bridges To Replace Missing Teeth
A dental bridge is one of several types of prostheses that equalize pressure in the mouth. Bridges are false teeth that, when inserted into a gap, give the appearance of a full smile. However, superficial appeal is not the sole reason to request a bridge; when a tooth falls out, the surrounding teeth must work harder to bite and chew, creating greater strain and potentially weakening these teeth. Our teeth work together to complete a variety of daily functions, such as speaking and eating, and when one or more teeth happen to be missing or in pain, there can be great discomfort as we try to accommodate this hindrance.
Bridges provide support not just to the surrounding teeth but also to the overall bone structure of the face. When a tooth is lost, some regular consequences include a shift in the alignment of the bite and sinking of the mouth, which can make the face appear older than it actually is. Issues with diction can also arise, as the teeth contribute to the formation of a sizable number of consonants in the English language. In addition to superficial and phonological problems, the site where a tooth has been avulsed is prone to developing gingival infections, as the tooth creates a substantial barrier between bacteria and the soft inner flesh of the gums. Dental bridges are a chief means of combatting all three of these ample risks to oral hygiene, functionality, and appearance.
A variety of materials are used in the construction of dental bridges, such as porcelain (the most popular option), alloys of gold or non-precious metals, and porcelain-alloy combinations. Bridges also come in four basic formats, each with its own benefits and relevance to a patient’s individual needs. A bonded bridge is installed when both of the teeth (also known as the abutment teeth) that border a single-tooth gap are lightly filed down, with removal of some of the enamel and dentin. The dentist then takes an impression of that portion of the mouth in order to mold an accurate plaster cast for use in dental bridge design. At a follow-up appointment, once the dental bridge has been customized for the patient’s mouth, the false tooth is laid in the gap. The lateral wings of the dental bridge are placed on the neighboring teeth in order to anchor the bridge. Cantilever bridges, which consist of several false teeth in a row, are more appropriate than bonded bridges when multiple teeth in the front of the mouth are missing, and they are anchored only to one abutment tooth. Bridges can also be supported by dental implants, which can be screwed into a gap in order to prevent bone loss in the jaw. Traditional bridges are best suited when the abutment teeth are also damaged; similar to the installation process of bonded bridges, the abutment teeth are cleaned and filed down, but crowns are placed on top of them instead. All of the above bridges can be fixed or removable, and though removable bridges are less stable, they do not usually require any filing. Instead, removable bridges are affixed to the abutment teeth using metallic clasps.
Though the dental bridge itself is not living tissue, it is still important to brush the area with toothpaste, floss, and rinse with fluoridated mouthwash, as plaque buildup and bacterial infection can easily threaten the integrity of both the dental bridge and the abutment teeth, which are the only elements anchoring the bridge.
What are the main types of dental bridges?
A fixed dental bridge is a bridge that is immovable; it is held in place using cement or screws, and only a dentist can remove this type of bridge. A cantilever bridge is a structure in which the false tooth is anchored to only one neighboring tooth. Another type of bridge that can be used is a resin-bonded bridge. These are not as strong as fixed and cantilever bridges, but they are both less expensive and not permanent. Unlike the two aforementioned bridges, which entail the filing of the teeth adjacent to the empty space in order to make room for the structure to be installed, resin-bonded bridges are put in place by inserting a false tooth with metal wings into the space. Then, your dentist will use resin to bond the wings to the adjacent teeth.
If you have questions about dental bridges, or would like to schedule your regular check-up, please contact our Buffalo dental office and schedule an appointment today.