Dental bridge – what is it? Indications and contraindications

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Dental bridge is an aesthetic and effective solution to the problem of missing teeth. Several conditions must be met to use this solution. However, if it is successful, then after the placement of the dental bridge, the patient regains practically the full function of the teeth and a beautiful smile.

What is a dental bridge?

Dental bridges are a type of permanent prosthetic restoration that allows to fill a gap of one, two, or even three adjacent teeth. In a simplified way, it is said that prosthetic bridges are partial dentures, although, from the technical point of view, their construction and embedding truly differ in this respect.

What does a prosthetic bridge look like?

The construction of a dental bridge in general is not complicated, although it should be noted that the technical details will be different for individual types of bridges. Composite bridges, all-ceramic bridges, bridges on a metal base, and temporary bridges will be made slightly differently, but the overall structure is similar.

The dental bridge consists of a span supported by a metal insert (porcelain bridges on metal) or on a base of zirconium oxide or built entirely of porcelain (all-ceramic bridge). The dental bridge span can also be a completely metal reconstruction. Currently, it is a rare solution, used as a supplement for the missing side teeth. Not very aesthetic, but very durable.

The dental bridge span is set on the pillars, i.e. either properly prepared pillar teeth or implants, if the patient’s own pillar teeth are weakened or the missing teeth are more extensive.

How is a dental bridge fitted?

With the help of a dental bridge, relatively large dental deficiencies can be supplemented. However, the procedure of installing a dental bridge on the dental arch is quite complicated and time-consuming, because it requires a very precise fit.

  1. Taking preliminary impressions.
  2. Preparation of the pillar teeth or implantation.
  3. Construction of a temporary bridge (adhesive bridge or temporary composite bridges).
  4. Making the final dental bridge in the laboratory.
  5. Trying on and choosing the color of teeth.
  6. Finishing of the dental bridge.
  7. Bonding to adjacent teeth or implants.

Importantly, before dental bridges are fitted, it is necessary to treat the pillars if they are not in proper condition. It is only after oral diseases are cured that bridges can be fitted.

Dental bridge – indications

An indication for the placement of a dental bridge is the absence of one to three teeth, with either healthy pillar teeth or room for implants on both sides of the cavity.

Dental bridge – contraindications

The only limitation to the use of dental bridges is the excessive weakening of natural teeth, which would be the pillars of reconstruction. Bridges are also not placed in case of diseased gums, because they cannot be properly fitted.

Dental bridge – possible complications

Appropriately fitted dental bridges should be subject to periodic inspection. Proper oral hygiene is also necessary. Then the risk of complications is low.

  • Dental bridges fitted on natural teeth require their reshaping, which increases the risk of caries, including deep caries eligible for root canal treatment.
  • Occasionally, abrasions or cracks may occur on the surface of the pillar teeth.
  • The consequence of installing the bridge is the partial atrophy of the bones under the span.

The shorter the bridge, the lower the risk of complications, but it is crucial to correctly select the supplement and properly prepare the patient.

Dental bridge – before and after treatment effects

Today, dental bridges, perhaps except for metal ones, definitely have serious aesthetic values. However, this is neither the only nor the most important of their advantages.

  • Prosthetic bridges allow for almost complete recovery of chewing force.
  • They reduce the risk of damage to the opposing teeth.
  • They allow to avoid, for example, diseases of the temporomandibular joints that occur with missing teeth, if most chewing takes place only on one side of the oral cavity.
  • They increase the effectiveness of the vocal function.

After leaving the dental office with a new dental bridge, the patient regains almost complete functionality of their teeth.

Advantages of dental bridges

Dental bridges, as permanent restorations, provide greater comfort than removable dentures, but this is not their only advantage.

  • They are very durable and do not change their appearance during the period of use.
  • When fitted on the so-called pillar teeth, they can be considered a non-invasive solution.
  • The list of contraindications and possible complications is short.
  • The replacement of missing teeth is full. It includes not only aesthetics but above all functions.
  • It is a fairly common technique, so you do not have to travel to a remote dental office to install and inspect the bridge.
  • Several available types of bridges allow for restoring dental arch continuity in patients with different needs and financial capabilities.

The procedure of making a dental bridge is one of the most frequently recommended when it comes to replacing missing teeth, which is the best proof that the advantages outweigh the disadvantages.

Disadvantages of dental bridges

Like any solution, dental bridges also have some disadvantages.

  • The need to reshape the pillar teeth. Reshaped teeth are more susceptible to the development of caries.
  • Quite a high price. It is the higher the more durable the materials are to be used.
  • Limitations resulting from the natural structure of teeth: if an abnormal shape of the dental crowns is found or even in the case of caries, it may not be possible to prepare a treatment plan including bridges.

Replacing missing teeth with bridges in most cases is a good solution. However, most often the dentist can indicate alternative options.

How long does a dental bridge last?

A porcelain bridge can last up to a dozen or so years. A metal bridge is similarly durable (but much less aesthetically pleasing). In the case of dental bridges on a zirconium base, this is slightly less. Usually, the dental warranty for the dental bridge is 1-3 years.

How much does a dental bridge for 1, 2, and 3 teeth cost?

Dental bridges are usually priced ‘per point’, with the point being every pillar tooth and every missing tooth separately (the lack of a single tooth is therefore supplemented with a three-point bridge). In the cheapest variants, such a procedure costs about PLN 3,000. With bridges on implants, the price may exceed PLN 10,000.

How to clean prosthetic bridges?

Prosthetic bridges are cleaned in the same way as natural teeth. You only need to remember the need for additional irrigation to flush out dirt from those places where the brush does not reach.

Dental bridge or implant? What to choose?

Such a decision cannot be made alone. You must visit a dental office and consult a dentist. In the absence of individual teeth, the implant will often be the suggested solution, but with larger losses, if the condition of the oral cavity allows, dental bridges will be the optimal solution. Both solutions also differ in price, which complicates the choice even more.

We will rebuild your teeth!

Thanks to techniques from an excellent prosthetic laboratory and cooperation with the most qualified dentists, we can prepare dental bridges for most patients with dental deficiencies. Book an appointment today and see how we can help you!