Porcelain dental bridges are used to bridge gaps left by missing teeth. A bridge is made of two parts:
- Abutment teeth- crowns that will sit on the teeth on either side of the gap
- Pontics – the false teeth that will fill the space left by the missing teeth
Benefits of dental bridges
- Restoring your smile.
- Restoring your ability to speak properly and to chew.
- To protect your face from collapsing in at the cheeks.
- To redistribute bite-force, thereby reduce rapid wear and tear of existing teeth.
- To keep the teeth near the gap from drifting in the wrong direction.
Types of bridges
Dental bridges fall in three main categories:
- Traditional bridge
This is the most widely used type of bridge. The structure of the bridge includes a crown for encasing the teeth on either side of the gap and a pontic that will fit in the gap. These bridges are either made completely of porcelain or using ceramic-fused-metal.
- Cantilever bridge
This is used when you have teeth only on one side of the gap, as would normally happen when you are missing your back teeth. Cantilever bridges are not commonly used because they tend to put a lot of strain on the tooth providing support from one side, which leads to faster wear and tear of your good teeth.
- Maryland Bridge
Maryland bridges are made of different materials including porcelain or porcelain-fused-metal. The bridge is installed by bonding the bridge to your existing teeth, using porcelain wings that are located on each side of the bridge.
Procedure for getting a porcelain bridge
Stage 1: Preparation
On your first visit, the dentist will prepare the teeth next to the gap by reshaping them so that the abutment (crown) can fit over them.
Next, the dentist will make an impression of your teeth, which will be used as a model for custom- making the pontic and crowns in the lab.
You will be given a temporary bridge to wear while your permanent bridge is being made, in order to protect your re-contoured teeth.
Stage 2: Fitting the bridge
Your dentist will start by removing the temporary bridge. He/she will then check the fit of the porcelain bridge and adjust it as necessary until it fits. The process involved in fixing the bridge into place will depend on the type of bridge you get.
You might need to schedule a few visits, to check for proper fit and bite.
Durability of bridges
As long as you practice proper oral care and schedule regular visits with your dentist, your bridge could last 10 years to 15 years, or even longer.
How a bridge will affect eating and speaking
Because a bridge is designed to replace missing teeth, you will find it easier to eat. At first, you’ll need to eat small pieces of soft foods until you get accustomed to eating with the bridge.
Because teeth affect how we speak, you will also experience a positive change in how you speak.
Caring for a bridge
The health and durability of your bridge will depend on the health of the surrounding teeth. Brush your teeth 2 times a day, floss daily, use mouthwash and visit your dentist regularly.