Missing one or more teeth can have serious effects on your physical attractiveness and dental health. Examples of serious dental health problems that can be caused by missing teeth include:
- Temporomandibular joint disorder.
- Speech disorders.
- Shifting in alignment of adjacent teeth.
- Tooth decay.
- Periodontal disease.
Definition: Dental bridges
Dental bridges are simply types of dental implants used to replace a missing tooth. Unlike most dental implants, dental bridges are supported by teeth on either sides known as abutment teeth.
What are the benefits of dental bridges?
1. Restoration of dental formula: One of the main benefits of dental bridges is restoration of the dental formula. Like many other cosmetic dental procedures, dental bridges help in restorative purposes i.e. improving a person's ability to speak, chew and smile.
2. Reducing risks of losing teeth: Also, according to studies carried out by American Dental Association (ADA), dental bridges also help in reducing the risk of losing any teeth that are adjacent to missing teeth/tooth.
3. Maintaining shape: Dental bridges also help to maintain the shape of the jaw and face especially when installed in people with missing teeth.
Types of dental bridges
There are three main types of dental bridges; cantilever bridges, maryland bonded bridges and traditional bridges.
1. Cantilever bridges: Are dental bridges used to replace teeth/tooth that don't have any adjacent supporting teeth on the affected area.
2. Maryland bonded bridges: These dental bridges refer to gums and artificial teeth held together in place using a metal frame.
3. Traditional bridges: These are the most common type of bridges. They are usually used to fill the gap created by a missing tooth. The bridges secure a false tooth by using crowns on either side.
How do you install dental bridges?
Dental bridges are usually installed or placed in two dental visits. During the first visit, the dentist determines whether a person is a good potential candidate for dental bridges. If a person is a good candidate, the dentist prepares the patients teeth by reshaping or reconstructing if the teeth have been badly decayed or damaged. After reconstruction and reshaping, the dentist then takes an impression of the patient's teeth, which is used to prepare a mold and a temporary fitting bridge for the patient to wear.
During the second visit to the dentist, the patient will be fitted with the final fitting bridges made from the mold left behind during the first visit. If there are any adjustments or corrections needed on the final bridges, they are made on the second visit.
How long can dental bridges last?
Typical dental bridges can last anywhere from eight to fifteen years. It is however possible for them to last longer i.e 20 years and above with proper dental care i.e. flossing and brushing regularly.
How much do dental bridges cost?
The cost of dental bridges is can range between $250 and $2500 per tooth. This cost varies according to factors such as dentist fees, the type of dental bridge and other factors.
Does dental insurance cover dental bridges?
Most medical insurance cover dental bridges. It is however important to ask your insurer first to confirm just in case you need to pay something out of pocket.
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