A Dental Bridge - the How and Why´s
As you may be aware, a fixed dental bridge is often referred to as a fixed partial denture.
This type of denture is usually used to correct a number of issues. This includes problems that affect your ability to bite and chew food properly.
Chances are, you would be very surprised to find that improper bite creates a number of other problems with oral health.
When you cannot chew with a full set of teeth, others in your mouth must take on extra work. Aside from making your teeth wear down faster, the extra stress can also cause jaw muscles and connective tissue to become misaligned.
Ultimately, this can easily lead to TMJ, ear disorders, and many other problems.
In fact, a fixed partial denture may even be used to halt the development of wrinkles and other signs of skin aging. Interestingly enough, when your teeth are misaligned, they do not support facial muscles properly. This creates a situation where facial muscles will collapse faster than usual.
Partial Dentures vs. Fixed Dental Bridges
When you have a partial denture, or removable bridge, you can take it out of your mouth whenever you please.
In most case, you will remove the bridge for cleaning purposes, as well as for personal comfort. On the other hand, you will need to have a dentist remove a fixed partial denture.
Why Get Dental Bridges?
If you have more than one adjacent tooth missing, it will always be of benefit to have them replaced with artificial ones. As a general rule of thumb, bridges are cheaper than implants, or other tooth replacement procedures.
Typically, you will need to have a gap wide enough to fit three teeth in order to qualify for a fixed partial denture. In a three unit bridge, the center tooth relies on the adjacent teeth for support. These teeth, in turn, are fused to crowns installed on neighboring teeth.
What are Dental Bridges Made From?
Depending on your budget, you can choose from a number of different materials.
Good quality bridges usually have crowns constructed from porcelain fused to metal, gold, or alloys.
You may also be able to find bridges with crowns made from resin. While these dentures are not as durable, they will still enable you to chew properly.
How are Dental Bridges Installed?
To begin, a bridge is constructed that will fill in the gap created by the missing teeth.
Next, the dentist will install crowns on adjacent teeth. These adjacent teeth are usually referred to as retainer teeth. They will be used to create two anchor points for the bridge.
In a fixed bridge, the dentist will fuse the entire unit to the adjacent teeth. Once this is accomplished, the entire unit will be cemented in place.
Traditional Fixed Dental Bridge Method
Basically, the traditional method for installing fixed dental bridges involves using a cap structure that fits over the retainer teeth.
These teeth, in turn, may be filed down in order to ensure the cap fits correctly. Once this is accomplished, the dentist will cement the bridge to the retainer teeth.
The Maryland Bridge Method
Instead of fusing the bridge to your teeth, they will be fused to metal bands that surround the retainer teeth. This type of bridge is often referred to as a Resin Bonded Dental Bridge.
It is often used when teeth are missing in the front of the mouth. As with the traditional form, the entire unit is cemented into place, and cannot be removed by the patient.
Typically, this form of bridge is cheaper, and requires less preparation than the traditional form.
In some cases, the dentist may only have teeth to work with on one side of the bridge instead of two. Typically, a Cantilever bridge is cemented to two or more teeth on the viable side.
If your dentist cannot find a teeth that are strong enough to withstand a bridge attachment, he/she may recommend installing an implant. As you may be aware, an implant makes use of a metal post driven into the bone. Once the bone grows around the post, it will be strong enough to hold a crown, as well as the support the bridge.
If you are interested in getting fixed partial bridges, you may want to know more details about the dental bridge procedure.
The next article in this series is designed to give you an overview of the entire process.
As you read this information, you may also want to give some thought to other options that your dentist may make available. Depending on the health of your teeth and gums, some newer technologies may or may not be of use to you.