A perfect smile can lead to confidence and an increase of self-esteem. When a person loses a tooth, one of the options to fill the empty space is to get a dental bridge. A bridge uses a false tooth and fuses it to surrounding teeth to create a permanent replacement for the missing tooth. With this type of fixed dental work, the new tooth cannot be taken out and differs from a denture which can be removed.
There are a three types of bridges: traditional fixed bridge, bonded bridge, and cantilever bridge. In a traditional bridge, the teeth adjacent to the missing tooth will need to be reshaped and resized. These teeth will then be fitted with crowns that are bonded to the false tooth creating one solid piece. The fixture is then cemented into place to ensure a permanent fit.
A bonded bridge can be used when a person has healthy surrounding teeth and the missing tooth is in an area that’s not regularly utilized for chewing. This type of bridge is popular for missing front teeth. Instead of fusing the false tooth to crowns, it’s fused to metal bands. The metal bands are then attached to the adjacent teeth using resin. This process requires less manipulation of the surrounding teeth.
Last is the cantilever bridge. This type of bridge is generally used when there is a natural tooth on only one side of the missing tooth. Instead of affixing the false tooth to both sides, the cantilever bridge only affixes itself to the natural tooth. Because it’s only attached on one side, this type of bridge should not be used in any area of the mouth that caters to chewing.
The purpose of a dental bridge is more than cosmetic. Spaces left open after losing a tooth can cause the other teeth in a person’s mouth to shift, as well as leave the surrounding teeth and gums susceptible to tooth decay and gum disease. The bridge also produces the added benefit of making food easier to chew. However, it is very essential that a person maintain their bridge with good oral hygiene. This includes brushing their teeth and bridge twice per day, as well as flossing and using mouth wash.
The cost of a bridge can vary by many factors, including the type of bridge being placed. A traditional fixed bridge is more expensive than a bonded or cantilever bridge. Insurance will often help pay for the bridge, sometimes covering up to 50 percent of the cost. Regardless, bridges are costly and time consuming and require strict attention to oral hygiene. These factors are all important when making the decision and committing to a dental bridge.