Overview Of Dental Bridge Procedures
For many individuals, a smile is an important feature. Missing or damaged teeth affect not only outward appearance, but may lead to a number of diseases and speech problems. Bridges act like permanent implants or dentures, and help replace teeth that have fallen out. Several types of bridges are available for patients to choose from, depending on the health of surrounding teeth or gum tissue.
A dentist will consider how well your gums or jaw structure will be able to accommodate crowns, or artificial teeth. Resin-bonded bridges are used most often with the replacement of front teeth as long as the surrounding teeth and gum tissue are healthy.
Common Bridge Procedures
Traditional (Fixed) Bridge – made of porcelain fused to metal or ceramics and involves creating a crown for tooth or implant on sides of missing tooth with a pontic (bridge) in the middle.
Removable Bridges (also called removable partial dentures) have replacement teeth attached to gum-colored plastic bases connected by metal framework. Removable dentures may attach to your natural teeth with metal clasps or devices called precision attachments. There also exist claspless removable bridges, for better support and esthetics. Bridges with crowns on your natural teeth may improve the way a removable bridge fits in the mouth.
Cantilever Bridge – is used when teeth are present on only one side of a missing tooth or teeth.
Resin Bonded Bridges – are made of plastic teeth and gums that are supported by metal framework held in place by "wings" bonded to existing teeth.
Popular Bridge Procedures
In order to be considered a candidate for any of the above types of bridged, the dentist needs to determine that the teeth and gum tissue are healthy enough to support bridgework.
If surrounding teeth are decayed or broken, the dentist may need to build them back up in order for them to support the bridge. Both fixed and cantilever bridges require shaping the teeth on either side of the missing tooth in order for it to fit the crown that will cover the shaped teeth. The crowns are attached to either side of a pontic, or the artificial tooth, that will fill the missing gap.
Once the teeth are shaped to fit the crown, the dentist will make a mold of the teeth with special putty so that the bridge can be designed for a custom fit. Obtaining a properly fitted bridge will prevent gum and tooth decay.
Once the mold is taken, it is then taken to a lab where it is made into a proper fitting bridge. In the meantime, a dentist will provide a temporary bridge to protect the teeth and gums from any damage while the permanent bridge is being made.
A second visit is needed so that the dentist can fit and cement the permanent bridge into place.
Benefits of Bridge Work
Missing teeth may cause a change in alignment of both the jaw and other remaining teeth. Bridges can also reduce the risk for periodontal disease, temporomandibular joint disorder and even tooth decay.
Dental bridges also restore chewing and speaking ability for many individuals, as well as evenly distributing bite pressure and alignment.
Cost of Bridges Worldwide
Dental bridges in any country can vary in cost depending on where the procedure is done, or if any other additional treatments are needed, like fillings or other tooth restorations.
The materials used in a bridge may also affect the cost, as well as the quality of work done by the lab in the making of the bridge. In the United States, bridges cost on average $1,000-$3,000 per tooth, while in Thailand, costs are around $750 per tooth. In India, costs range around $500 per tooth.
Choosing The Right Dentist for Bridgework
In order to choose a quality cosmetic dentist, recommendations should be made from either a primary dentist or anyone that has undergone the procedure who can offer advice and information. Regardless of the country where the cosmetic dentist practices in, be sure to check his or her qualifications, levels of accreditation or membership to dental or cosmetic dentistry organizations that may provide additional information or qualifications.
Take into consideration the number of years the dentist has been in practice, and his or her level of experience. Check before and after photos to get an idea of the quality of work the dentist provides, and be sure to ask about the procedure, how long it will take and advice on how to heal for optimal results.
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