What are dental bridges?
Dental bridges are false teeth that are permanently anchored on neighbouring teeth, in order to replace one or more missing teeth. The false tooth is known as a pontic and is fused between two crowns that serve as anchors by attaching to the teeth on each side of the false tooth, thereby bridging them together.
If the proposed anchor teeth are healthy, aesthetically pleasing teeth with no restorations or imperfections, an implant might be a better solution to replace the missing teeth.
When are dental bridges needed?
Bridges are recommended when there are one or more teeth missing that affect your
- Smile and appearance
- Bite as a result of adjacent teeth leaning into the space and altering the way the upper and lower teeth bite together.
- Shape of your face
- Gum disease and tooth decay as a result of food accumulation in the gap
What are bridges made of?
- Porcelain fused to Zirconium ( all tooth coloured )
- Porcelain fused to metal.
- All metal dental bridges (Gold)
How long will dental bridges last?
This will depend largely on how well you look after your teeth. Dental bridges require a higher level of care and attention than your natural teeth. You need to follow a specialised oral hygiene program and attend regular check ups at your dentist. Combined with a tooth kind diet, a high quality dental bridge can last 10-15 years.
How to take care of your dental bridges?
Practice optimum dental hygiene:
- Clean the dental bridge at least twice daily to prevent tooth decay, bad breath and gum disease
- Clean thoroughly under the pontic ( false tooth)
- Keep the anchor teeth healthy as these serve as the foundation for the dental bridge
Brushing and flossing:
- Brush and floss at least twice daily
- To floss under the pontic use a bridge floss threader (a flexible piece of plastic with a loop at one end to thread the floss), or superfloss from oral-b.
- Thread one end of a 20 - 25 cm piece of dental floss through the loop, making sure to leave one side about half as long as the other
- Insert the end of the floss threader without the hole in between the bridge and the gum line.
- Hold onto the longer piece of floss, gently bring it up and pull the pointed end all the way through.
- Superfloss can easily be threaded under the bridge without a threader using the more rigid end.
- Floss using both your hands, moving the floss back and forth under the bridge
- Floss the bridge completely from one end to the other
Diet and eating habits:
- Eat soft foods or cut food into smaller pieces until you get accustomed to the dental bridge
- Eat a balanced and nutritious diet for good general and dental health
What are the advantages of dental bridges?
- They have a natural tooth appearance if designed and placed correctly
- They generally require only two appointments with the dentist
- They have a good life period, lasting for 10-15 years, provided that you maintain good dental hygiene
- They improve your appearance, bite issues as well as speech problems that can occur as a result of missing teeth
What are the disadvantages of dental bridges?
- Teeth become mildly sensitive to extreme temperatures for a few weeks
- They require healthy tooth tissue from neighbouring teeth to be removed
- Your teeth and gums are vulnerable to infection if proper hygiene is not maintained.