Bridges replace one or more missing teeth. they consist of an artificial tooth anchored to the adjacent natural teeth. If a tooth is lost through an accident, or is too badly decayed to save with a crown, a bridge may be the treatment of choice. You should also ask your dentist about implants, which are another way of replacing teeth. Bridges are oftenmade of porcelain is strong and can be made to match the colour of the natural teeth. it is resistant to staining and can be cleaned if it becomes stained. Metal alloy is userd for its stregth, hardness and durability. it is especially useful for molars, which must withstand the forces of grinding and crushing. Metal alloy and porcelain are well tolerated by the gum and cheek. an allergic reaction to metal alloy or porcelain is rare. Teeth have many functions apart from chewing and biting, so missing teeth should be replaced for the following reasons:
- To improve appearance and speech
- To prevent stresses causing damage to other teeth
- To prevent the teeth near the gap from shifting
- To maintain the natural bite
- To improve chewing ability
All general practitioner dentist are qualified to fit bridges. A dentist with specialist training in crown and bridge work is called a prosthodontist. Based on your dental and medical history, X-ray examinations of your teeth and jaws, and an oral examination, your dentist will recommend the treatment which is best for you. You will require at leaat two appointments for preparation and fitting of a bridge. sometimes a tooth will need a root canal filling, and perhaps a post or foundation before bridge treatment.
Taking Impressions Of Teeth
On your first visit, the dentist takes an impression of your upper and lower teeth to make a permanent record of their appearence and how they fit together when your jaws are closed. (known as "occlusion"). To make an accurate reproduction of your upper and lower teeth, a jaw-shaped tray is filled with asoft gel-like material, pushed onto your teeth and held in place to set for three to five minutes.
Preperation For A Bridge
The steps in preparing and fitting a bridge are similar to those for a crown. The teeth on either side of the gap are shaped by drilling. These teeth are fitted with crowns, which serve a anchors for the replacement tooth that is attatched to the framework of the adjacent crowns. The whole piece is then cemented firmly in place.
Hygiene And Care
Bridges should last for many years. However, there is no lifetime guarantee. As with natural teeth, it depends on good dental hygiene, oral health and the forces you apply to your teeth. Therefore, regular dental check-ups are advisable. Bridges reguire regular flossing and brushing, with extra attention around the margins where decay is more likely. special devices including floss threaders and "superfloss" are available for cleaning under the bridge. Your dnetist will show you how to clean your bridges properly.
Possible Complications Of Crowns And Bridges
As with any dental or medical treatment, bridge work has risks. The following complications are listed to inform and not to alarm you. There may be others that are not listed.
TOOTH BREAKAGE DURING PREPARATION
When the affected tooth is evaluated, your dentist knows whether its structure is strong enough to take a bridge. If there is doubt, the existing filling may be replaced or the structure reinforced before shaping the tooth. Problems that occur during preparation can be corrected at the time, before taking the final impression.
INFECTION OF THE PULP OR GUMS
Infection may affect the teeth in two places:
- In the soft tissue inside the tooth, called the pulp
- In the gums around thr base of the teeth.
Whenever enamel is removed, there is a small risk that the underlying pulp may die and become infected. If this occurs the tooth may need root canal treatment. To avoid gum disease, additional steps may be needed in your dental hygiene routine, especially to clean completely under the bridge. Poor clenaing may cause "gum recession", where the gum shrinks away from the neck of the tooth.
PAIN OR DISCOMFORT
During treatment of a tooth, surrounding gum may be injured and feel tender as the effects of anaesthesia wear off. Any pain should not last beyond two days. If pain persists, contact your dentist or prosthodontist.
If the size of a tooth is changed even slightly, it can have an effect on the way it feels in the mouth, especially when chewing or biting or when the jaws are closed. It is important that you advise your dentist of any uncomfortable or odd feelings at the time of fitting the bridge. If any discomfort continues beyond a few days, inform your dentist, as extra adjustments may be needed.
A correctly fitted bridge should be secure. Contact your dentist if the new work has any movement. A bridge may be dislodged by a strong force. if this happens, the bridge can be cleaned, disinfected and re-cemented in place.
Allergic responses to alloy or porcelain are rare. in the case of a suspected allergic response to gold or porcelain, contact your dentist or prosthodontist.