Dental bridges are used in case of a missing tooth ,they are false teeth also called as pontics .Dental bridges fills up the gap created by a missing teeth which helps in reducing dental problems , tooth drift and gum diseases. Traditionally removable dentures were used, which were not permanent, but dental bridges are permanent as they are anchored to the teeth with the help of metal bands held by Cement or resin.
Materials used include porcelain, gold fused with the metal, or in many situations only porcelain is used. The type and amount of teeth reduction depends on the type of materials used.
Three types of bridges are used fixed, cantilever and resin bonded bridges.
Two main factors decide the type of bridge to be used i.e. the positioning of the gap as well as the teeth situated on either sides of the gap.
These bridges fill up the gap anywhere in the mouth. In this a false tooth is anchored to a new crown which is attached to the teeth situated at the either side of the gap. Crowns are made of porcelain and the new teeth are made up of porcelain or ceramic.
These dental bridges are used when there is only one healthy tooth at one side of the gap. This bridge is anchored to one or more than one teeth, on one side only. Such bridges are suitable for front teeth i.e. low stress bridges.
Resin Bonded Bridges
These bridges do not require crowning of the adjacent teeth, hence are appropriate where there is little or no damage..The new tooth is made up of plastic which is attached with the help of metal bands to adjacent teeth through resin. Such bridges are well suited for less stress teeth such as front teeth where the bonding can be done behind the teeth which make the bridge out of view.
Bridges require at least 2/3 visits to the dentist .In the first visit space is made for the new crown. This preparatory work is done for fixed bridge. The dentist takes a mould of the teeth with the help of which the bridge is made. In the second visit the bridge is fitted and it is adjusted to get a correct bite. Once the patient is comfortable with the bridge it is permanently fixed.
A strict dental hygiene regime has to be followed. Debris can get accumulated, as there is gap between and beneath the bridge i.e. the false teeth. The adjacent teeth require special care as the bridge rests on them .If regular cleaning and flossing is not done the teeth may fall off. Special tools are there to clean awkward areas & the dentist can help you use them.
It is expensive & the cost depends on the type of material used & number of visits.
Alternative to bridges is dentures/ implants.