A dental bridge is a prosthetic replacement of a missing tooth that is kept in place by taking the support of the adjacent teeth. In other words, a dental bridge is a prosthesis that is used to fill the space created by a lost tooth with a pontic (serves the purpose of a missing tooth. Also known as a false tooth) and its abutments (supporting prosthetic caps for the prepared adjacent teeth), which together makes a bridge. Although dental bridge serves different purposes in the oral cavity, it has to be aesthetically sound, when it is considered as a replacement of the front teeth especially.
Dental bridges can be of various varieties: Metal bridge: gold/base metal, porcelain, zirconia, ceramic or combination, also acrylic in some cases. They serve a different purpose in the mouth. However, for front teeth, keeping the aesthetic into the mind, bridges are made up of Zirconia or Ceramic or metal/ceramic combination, or porcelain. These blend with the color of natural teeth and thus a person’s smile is retained.
Reasons for getting a bridge replacement on the front teeth:
- When a front tooth is lost due to any trauma or infection.
- When front teeth are worn-off due to abrasion or erosion.
- When teeth get discolored and chipped off because of any reason.
- When an embarrassing gap is present between the front teeth.
- When improper size and shape of the teeth becomes a reason for an ugly smile, hence affecting the confidence.
As discussed before, the materials used in the making of a bridge varies, and this depends on the choice of a patient and the advice from the dentist. Also, the same depends on the budget of the patient. Whatever the choice is, one thing is clear that even though metal bridges have good strength, they are not an appropriate choice for the front teeth.
Before and after:
Comparison between the dental features before the bridge placement and after it can be explained with different examples. However, a general outlook can be described as follow:
Front teeth play a prominent role in the smile designing of a person. If they are not in place or are aesthetically not maintained, a person may suffer from low self-esteem at a social level. A dental bridge becomes a choice of treatment in such cases as it can restore the smile and thereby help in rebuilding the confidence.
A dental bridge can replace natural teeth aesthetically as well as functionally. Therefore, to get the dentition and smile of your choice, this option has proved to provide long-lasting results.
Dental Bridge Front Teeth Before & After
Dental bridge for the front teeth can be of various types: Some common variations are:
Traditional Dental bridge:
One or more missing teeth can be replaced by taking the support of adjacent teeth on both sides. This is the most common type of dental bridge that is used for both the front and the back teeth.
This is preferable in the cases where:
- The adjacent teeth are strong enough to provide support to the prosthesis.
- When there is a budget constraint, this serves as a reasonable long-lasting option.
- Teeth that are discolored or chipped off because of any reason as discussed before.
- After the infected tooth/teeth have undergone root canal treatment.
- For the embarrassing gap closure between the two or more front teeth.
It is similar to the traditional type, the difference is that it provides support on a single side of the missing tooth. (i.e. pontic and a single abutment act as a cantilever bridge). This is mainly preferable when the missing tooth needs very less support from its adjacent tooth to perform its function in the oral cavity.
Also known as the Resin-bonded bridge. This option is mostly used for a single missing front tooth. For a tooth that does not have to endure the biting and chewing force, the Maryland bridge becomes the right choice as the pontic of the bridge does not need more support from its abutments to fulfill its function. The pontic of the bridge has small resin wings that are attached to the back (posterior) side of the adjacent teeth. These wings act as support to the main pontic (the prosthesis used to fill the missing tooth space), and for the incorporation of these attachments, the adjacent teeth do not need to undergo extensive preparing, or grinding. If taken proper care, these bridges can stay intact up to 10-15 years and then need the replacement.
Implant-supported Dental bridge:
This is the most successful type where one or two implants act as support to a dental bridge of more than one missing tooth. Here, instead of the natural teeth acting as a support for a bridge, implants that are anchored in the jaw serves the purpose. For example, if five front teeth are missing in an arch, so to replace these, two implants are placed surgically in the arch and the dental bridge with three pontics and two abutments are placed on the implant, together which replaces the missing teeth in the arch.
This type of dental bridge is preferable when a separate single implant replacement is not possible for each missing tooth owing to financial constraints or other surgical issues analyzed by a dentist. The implant-supported bridge retains the strength and the integrity of the adjacent teeth as they are not harmed in any way and the bridge receives the required support from the implants. The longevity and success of an implant-supported bridge are comparatively much higher than the traditional ones. However, this difference can be seen after a long period of time post-treatment. The results at the start are almost the same with both the types, i.e. aesthetically pleasant and sound. It should be noted that for being eligible for getting the implant-supported dental bridge, the patient should have dense and healthy jawbone tissue.
The difference after getting the bridge treatment done:
- Improper or misaligned smile gets restored.
- Improper bite is re-adjusted.
- Speech and pronunciation are restored.
- Facial aesthetic features improve.
- Stops the improper movement of the adjusting teeth that gradually affects the natural bite position and also affects the health of the concerned teeth.
In conclusion, apart from filling the space created by a missing front or back tooth, a dental bridge is a very valuable treatment option for restoring the smile and aesthetics of the face, thereby restoring the lost confidence. Also, it restores oral health and saves the remaining teeth from getting infected or displaced unnecessarily.