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Knowing About Dental Bridges

Updated on October 20, 2013

A missing tooth or teeth can be a real drain on your confidence. You will not feel like yourself with a missing tooth, and you will likely not want to smile as much as you once did for fear of showing the spot where you missing tooth used to be. This can have a poor affect on your relationships and on your general mental health. Research has shown that people who smile are actually happier people because the act of smiling releases chemicals from the brain and into the bloodstream that help to elevate our mood. What’s more, it is hard to feel carefree in the midst of social situations when you are worried that people will be looking at your missing tooth.

When you have the problem of missing teeth, the best way to correct this situation is to have a dental bridge placed. These bridges do much not only to restore your teeth and mouth to a healthy state, they will put you back on the road to self confidence and a feeling of ease and well being. In a world of such dental care as we live in, there is no reason someone should have to live with the stigma and discomfort of missing teeth.

Lose a tooth? Dental bridges can help.
Lose a tooth? Dental bridges can help.

What Are Dental Bridges?

The purpose of a dental bridge is to quite literally bridge the gap between a missing tooth or teeth. The teeth on either side of the missing teeth act as anchors for a bridge that can be made of various materials, including porcelain, gold, other metals, plastic, or some combination of these materials.

There are three basic types of dental bridges. These include traditional or conventional bridges, cantilevered bridges, and resin bonded bridges, which are sometimes known as Maryland bridges. In traditional bridges, the teeth on either side of the tooth gap are prepared by removing a portion of the enamel and then are fitted with crowns that act as the support structure for the portion of the bridge that will fill the tooth gap. This portion of the dental bridge is known as the pontic. These bridges are made from porcelain or gold.

There are times, however, when the dental bridge will not have teeth on both sides of the tooth gap. In these cases, a dentist will fit you with a cantilevered bridge. The third type of bridge, the resin bonded bridges, are fashioned out of plastic, with artificial teeth and gums supported by an underlying metal framework. Special metal wings on either side of the resin bonded bridges are fixed to existing teeth for additional support.

In all cases, what happens is that on your first visit to the dentist for bridges, the surrounding teeth are prepared for the crowns. Also, an impression of the affected areas is made with a special putty that will be used as a model for fashioning the bridge. This model is usually sent out to a lab that specializes in the making of bridges. Finally, you return to the dentist to have the bridge fixed in your mouth. While you wait for the permanent bridge to be made, however, your dentist will provide you with a temporary bridge so that your teeth are not damaged and your appearance is maintained.

Benefits of Dental Bridges

Of course, the primary concern for many people seeking dental bridges is restoration of your appearance. You will look better, and feel better, once your dental bridge is securely in place. However, there are a number of other very important benefits to having dental bridges fill the gaps in your teeth.

First of all, having missing teeth can interfere with your ability to speak. The gaps in the teeth cause a disturbance of the flow of air from your mouth that is necessary for clear speech. Second, these tooth gaps can make eating and chewing more difficult. People with missing teeth tend to avoid certain foods and chew only on one side of their mouths. Missing teeth can also disturb your bite, and this can lead to problems in the jaw such as temporomandibular joint disorder or TMJ. Finally, having all your teeth is necessary to maintain the proper shape of your face. Installing bridges thus improves your appearance not only by filling in tooth gaps but also by restoring the natural shape of your face.

Cost of Dental Bridges

You can expect to pay somewhere between 1000 and 3000 dollars for your dental bridge. Of course, your dental insurance can cover some or most of this cost. Exactly how much the bridge will cost depends on several factors, including the material used in the dental bridge, how much preparation of anchor teeth will be required, and the necessity of additional procedures such as root canals to restore proper oral health.

Given that with proper care dental bridges will last 10 years or longer and given their great benefit to your health and wellbeing, this cost is more than worth the benefit. Visit your dentist soon to inquire about the placement of dental bridges.

Once done getting the work done on your teeth, you'll feel like smiling again! You may want to look into a teeth whitening pen to make your smile shine more than it already does, and be sure to show off those pearly whites!

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