Dental crowns are usually adviced for older people, or when the cost need to be kept down. In every other cases crowns or implants are recommended.
Dental bridges are often confused with dentures but they are permanent and do not need to be removed for cleaning. To all intents and purposes, they can be considered permanent teeth, although there are some care issues, which will be mentioned below. Dental bridges can look very natural, as the dentist will take a cast of the existing teeth which are to be replaced or will take an impression of the teeth below to match the bite. The teeth on either side are prepared by filing and these are then attached to the bridge.
There are several materials to choose from and when you and your dentist have decided which is best for you, the moulds and impressions will be sent to a dental laboratory where your bridge will be made. A temporary bridge is usually fitted in the interim. There are various types of bridge depending on what teeth are available for anchoring, and your dentist will decide which one will suit you best. You can even have a bridge fitted if you only have teeth on one side of the gap – this is called a cantilever bridge. Front teeth bridges are normally attached with metal bands which are bonded to the teeth on either side, to give extra strength.
The choice of material for your bridge will depend on the amount of money you want to spend and also on where the bridge is to be located in the mouth.
- Gold – this is the longest lasting material of all, but is not the choice of most people because it is not very attractive. However, for back teeth, it is a good strong choice.
- Full cast noble – these bridges are also metal but are made of palladium with the addition of silver, gold and other trace metals. Because it is silver in colour it is less noticeable than gold, but even so most people prefer to use it for back teeth only.
- Porcelain fused to gold – this is a good compromise, because although it is basically gold and therefore strong, it looks like a real tooth because of the ceramic covering.
- All ceramic (porcelain) – aesthetically, these look the best, but are not as strong as the metal or part metal options.
Bridges are a relatively inexpensive option for people with moderately wide gaps but they can look ‘false’ as there is no way to make them look as though they are growing from the gum; they definitely look like an addition. Even so, if an implant is not acceptable to the patient or if there is a medical reason why an implant wouldn’t work, a dental bridge is probably the best alternative.
When your permanent bridge is fixed, it can be cleaned like your own teeth with no special pastes required, but you must remember that a bridge, especially a porcelain only bridge, is not as strong as a tooth and so you should be careful to avoid biting hard foods and things like ice cubes, your nails or pencils and pens. As long as you remember this and also maintain good oral hygiene, you shouldn’t have to worry about ever having your bridge replaced and you will also probably maintain the integrity of the teeth in the opposite jaw as you will keep a good bite.
A tooth bridge is a fixed prosthetic device that is cemented onto existing adjacent teeth or implants. Dental bridges are usually recommended when you’re missing several teeth, as gaps can eventually cause bad bite, or can lead to different kind of gum diseases. You can find more information about dental bridges on the link.