A bridge is a dental device that fills a space that a tooth previously occupied. A bridge may be necessary to prevent:
- Shifting of the teeth that can lead to bite problems (occlusion) and/or jaw problems and resultant periodontal disease.
- Bridges safeguard the integrity of existing teeth and help maintain a healthy, vibrant smile.
There are three main types of bridges, namely:
- Fixed bridge- this is the most popular and consists of a filler tooth that is attached to two crowns, which fit over the existing teeth and hold the bridge in place.
- The “Maryland” bridge is commonly used to replace missing front teeth and consists of a filler attached to metal bands that are bonded to the abutment teeth. The metal bands consist of a white-colored composite resin that matches existing tooth color.
- The Cantilever bridge is often used when there are teeth on only one side of the span. A typical three-unit cantilever bridge consists of two crowned teeth positioned next to each other on the same side of the missing tooth space. The filler tooth is then connected to the two crowned teeth, which extend into the missing tooth space or end.
The treatment plan for a bridge usually requires two trips to your dentist. Specifically, it involves:
- Numbing the surrounding teeth with a local anesthetic and cleaning plaque or decay.
- Reducing the teeth so that the crowns can be fitted.
- Making a mold or impression of the teeth in order to create a customized permanent impression (this generally takes 1-2 weeks).
- Fitting the patient with a temporary bridge until the permanent bridge is ready for placement.
- Removing the temporary bridge and replacing it with the permanent one.
- Adjusting the bridge for the proper bite and fit and permanently bonding it into the mouth.
Bonding is a common solution for:
- Fixing or repairing chipped or cracked teeth
- Reducing unsightly gaps or spaces between teeth
- Hiding discoloration or faded areas on the tooth’s surface
Often used to improve the appearance of your teeth and enhance your smile. As the name indicates, composite material, either a plastic or resin, is bonded to an existing tooth. Unlike veneers or crowns, composite bonding removes little, if any, of the original tooth.
Composite bonding has many advantages:
- It is a quick process, which typically lasts less than one hour.
- It does not reduce the tooth’s original structure and is relatively inexpensive.
- Composite resins come in many different shades and provide better matching of shades to the natural color of your teeth.
- Composite bonds, however, are not as durable and long-lasting as veneers and crowns and may need to be re-touched or replaced in the future.
Composite bonds stain more easily and therefore require proper care and regular cleaning. In order to ensure the longest possible duration of the bonding, composites should be brushed and flossed daily. Common staining elements include coffee, tea, tobacco, foods and candy.