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Dental Bridge: aka Dental Bridges, Normal Fixed Bridges, Crowns, Dentures, Resin Bonded Dental Bridges


What is it?


A dental bridge is an artificial tooth that a restorative dentist or cosmetic dentist will place and seal between two artificial teeth known as porcelain crowns or dental caps. This will help fill the place between a missing tooth. The dental bridge helps replace the gap left between missing teeth, usually one or more missing teeth. Dental bridges are not the same as dentures because the dentist will permanently place a dental bridge in the mouth, so you can’t remove the bridge.


It is important dental bridges are placed by professional restorative cosmetic dentists or skilled surgeons so the bridges last for several years and do not require significant adjustments or replacements for the best possible outcomes.


The Operation


Usually a cosmetic dentist will first prepare the teeth for the false dental bridge or fake tooth. An anesthetic agent is placed in the gums to help numb the area. Next the dentist will have to prepare the adjacent teeth for the new false tooth and the area where the bridge will secure for the false tooth and the attachment.


To achieve this, a portion of the existing teeth on each side is removed to place the crowns. The dentist then makes a model for the bridge and crown, and a temporary bridge is put in place so the mold can go to the laboratory for exact specifications and creation. Remember that a bridge is always created to fit a mouth as perfectly as possible, which is one reason it is sculpted and sent off to a lab to meet specific criteria.


Once the bridge is created, you will then return to have it placed in your mouth and bonded.


There are three types of dental bridges:


Traditional bridge - also known as the “fixed bridge” this type of false tooth or “pontic” is often fused between two porcelain crowns to help replace the gap left by a missing tooth. Two crowns hold it in place the dentist attaches to the teeth on each side of a false tooth. This is a fixed bridge and helps replace one or several missing teeth.


Resin bonded bridge - typically this type of dental bridge helps replace missing front teeth, and is best when large dental fillings are not necessary. Usually the false tooth used in bridges is fused to metal bonds which a dentist bonds to the teeth with a special resin. This provides a more natural look and feel so it is not as noticeable to passers by. Someone familiar with dentistry may know the individual had a bridge, but on first glance most people would probably not notice anything was awry.


Cantilever Dental bridges - in this type of bridge, usually in the front teeth, a false tooth becomes anchored to another tooth over a natural tooth or adjacent teeth to lend a more natural appearance to the teeth.



Alternatives to Surgery


A dental bridge is a useful option for someone that wants to replace a gap or more in their teeth without requiring surgery or a dental implant. The dental bridge is a permanent fixture in the mouth but does not require invasive surgery. The bridge typically lasts several years and can help correct many different problems including problems with biting and speaking.


Before the Operation


Very little preparation is necessary before the procedure. Your dentist will provide you with any specific requirements about preparation before you receive treatment. You will have to follow basic oral hygiene and need to tell your dentist about any health conditions or medications you currently take that may interfere with preparation or require you take special health precautions before undergoing any medical procedure no matter how minimally invasive.


After the Operation- In the Hospital


As this is a quick, outpatient procedure, the patient will be sent home with detailed instructions of the next steps to take for a full recovery.


After the Operation- At Home


At home, it will be important that the patient follow all prescribed steps for a better chance of few to any complications.


Possible Complications


It is important to maintain proper oral and dental hygiene once a bridge is in place because often a bridge will remain it your mouth for a decade or longer. That means if you were not to take care of your teeth with proper hygiene, cavities could grow around the areas the bridge bonds, growing deeply into the sides of teeth before they are noted.


This could result in loss of teeth or the need for additional expensive dentistry including full replacement of teeth with implants, crowns, additional bridges or other expensive dentistry. It’s never too late to practice good oral hygiene. If you are not sure how to properly care for your new hardware be sure to talk with your dentist or dental hygienist.


General Advice


If you find you have more than one missing tooth and you take good care of your teeth, and want a more affordable option to help replace the missing teeth in your mouth, then installing a dental bridge may be just the solution you need. It is not quite as expensive as some of the other methods of cosmetic dentistry available to improve the look and feel of teeth including porcelain veneers. For individuals with mild to moderate concerns this may be just the solution they are looking for.


Helping to close the spaces or gaps between your teeth will reduce the odds your teeth will slowly shift out of position, possibly resulting in more problems and dental disease.


Estimated Costs for Dental Bridges


Country Cost per tooth
USA $400-1500 (depending on type)
Brazil $320-1200
Costa Rica $550
South Africa $900
Thailand $240-360

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