Individuals who want to repair their smiles may wonder what tooth restoration options are available and which would most suit their needs. Crooked, damaged, or missing teeth can affect the confidence of those who have such dental issues, but a visit to a cosmetic dentist can provide patients with a variety of dental repair choices,…
How Are Dental Bridges Used in Cosmetic Dentistry?
Dental bridges are used in cosmetic dentistry to fill up the spaces between teeth. These restorations do as their name implies; they bridge spaces created by missing teeth right next to each other with artificial teeth called pontics. These artificial teeth create the appearance of a full set of teeth and restore the function of the patient's lost teeth.
Missing teeth can affect the way that a person's smile looks, which can lead to reduced confidence. Missing teeth can also make it more difficult to chew food and can affect a person's ability to pronounce certain words. Having gaps between teeth can lead to poor teeth alignment as the remaining teeth try to close the space.
The different dental bridges used in cosmetic dentistry
There are a few types of dental bridges used by cosmetic dentists. Factors like the location of the missing teeth and the proximity of healthy teeth to the space often determine the dentist's approach. Bridges are typically made out of porcelain, but they can also be made with materials like gold or metal alloys. Porcelain is often used because it shares many properties with real teeth, like their translucence, making the restoration look natural in the patient's mouth.
The three popular types of bridges used in cosmetic dentistry include:
- Traditional dental bridge: This is the most often used type of dental bridge and involves securing the bridge to the two teeth closest to the gap; these teeth are covered up with crowns for increased stability
- Cantilever bridge: This type of dental bridge might be recommended when a patient is missing two teeth next to each other
- Maryland bridge: This is the most affordable type of dental bridge and involves attaching the artificial teeth to metal wings that are cemented to the abutment teeth; it can be used when there is only one tooth close to the gap, to serve as an anchor for the bridge
Bridges are customized restorations, and getting them often requires two trips to the dentist. During the first appointment, the dentist will prepare the abutment teeth for their crowns by shaving off some enamel. An impression of the patient's teeth is taken and sent to a lab that makes bridges. In the meantime, the dentist fits the patient with temporary crowns and a temporary bridge.
It takes about two weeks for a patient's customized crowns and bridge to get back to the dentist. During the second appointment, the dentist takes off the temporary bridge and crowns and replaces them with the customized ones. Any alterations needed are made to finish up the treatment.
Dental bridges do not require much specialized care. Good oral hygiene and a bridge threader are enough to keep these restorations in good condition. The threader is used to remove plaque deposits under the artificial teeth. Some patients with bridges find it easier to floss with a water flosser than regular floss.
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