Dental Bridges are a viable functional replacement option for missing teeth. Although the technology behind dental bridge is older than dental implants, they have retained their position in clinical dentistry over the decades due to their ability to recreate aesthetically pleasing treatment results. Although they have limitation that are sometimes difficult to overcome, but the cost and benefits of dental bridges outweigh their disadvantages in many cases.
What are dental bridges
Dental bridges are in simple terms connected crowns with make believe teeth that are supported by natural dentition just like a bridge. To replace missing teeth with dental bridges, a patient must have teeth on both sides of the missing teeth gap. Teeth surrounding the gap act as support legs for the prosthesis that will be called dental bridge. One of the most important determining facto for dental bridges is the span of missing teeth. Single or double missing teeth are often easy to replace with a dental bridge. However, as the span of the missing teeth gap increases, replacing teeth with dental bridges becomes riskier and more difficult, and in those scenarios dental implants may be recommended to patients.
Benefits of dental bridges
If teeth surrounding the gap are also in poor condition and require restorations such as crowns and fillings, they may benefit from dental bridge treatment, as it will replace the missing teeth and provide additional full coverage for supporting legs of the bridge. Therefore, it may be more cost effective to restore missing teeth with dental bridges versus dental implants. In addition, in many cases of missing teeth, lack of appropriate bone presence inhibits restoration with dental implants. Recreating bone support for implant placement may also not be ideal in every case. Therefore, in these scenarios, dental bridges become the most viable functionally and esthetically pleasing teeth replacement option.
Factors to consider
Prior to treatment planning dental bridges, a comprehensive evaluation of the span of the missing teeth, health and structural stability surrounding support teeth, thickness, and density of bone in the area or lack thereof are evaluated. Options to replace missing teeth are discussed, benefits and disadvantages are assessed. Evaluation of esthetics, and patients’ expectation of esthetics are also evaluated. Ultimately dental bridges are recommended by taking into consideration the above factors.
Modern day dental bridges are made with much durable material than they used to be. All zirconia dental bridges, Bruxzir, are the most functionally, and esthetically pleasing material. Alternative material such as all ceramic e-max, and porcelain fused to gold are also used in areas where esthetics are of importance. Choosing the appropriate material for dental bridges are important as they are fixed prosthesis, and if cared for will last for many decades.