If you recently lost a tooth, your dentist will likely suggest placing a dental bridge1. The appliance has been around for a long time, making it possible for people to eat and live normally without sacrificing their bite. Right now tonnes of questions are probably going through your mind: how much will it cost, does it hurt, what does the process entail, permanent dental bridge vs implant, etc.? Don’t worry, we are coming to your rescue. Down below, we will discuss the main aspects of dental bridge in Singapore, so write down everything you need to know.
What is a Dental Bridge?
A dental bridge is a fixed prosthesis that serves to restore missing teeth. It consists of different units and their number differs depending on the number of false teeth needed.
In the middle of the prosthesis lies an artificial tooth which is fabricated of porcelain2, gold, or a mixture of materials. Known as a pontic, its job is to fill the gap that the missing tooth has caused. On either side of the pontic are the crowns. They are placed over healthy adjacent teeth that have been filed down in advance (to become abutment teeth). The bridge needs a strong foundation to function.
The crowns are constructed of composite resin, porcelain, or other dental materials, though porcelain dental bridges are far more widespread3.
The Restoration Process
On the first visit, the technician will start by prepping the abutment teeth. Some or all of the enamel will be removed to allow more room for the crowns.
The next stage involves applying a putty-like material over the affected area to create an impression of the bite. It will then be filled with a plaster-like material. The end result is a model of the teeth, which will allow the lab workers to craft a dental bridge to match your mouth.
Since it takes over a week for the experts to construct the appliance, the placement step will be left for your next visit. In the meantime, your dentist will insert a temporary bridge so you are able to eat and speak.
During your second appointment, the specialist will inspect the newly-arrived dental bridge and see if it will fit properly over your teeth. They will remove the temporary prosthesis and proceed to cement the appliance in place.
Fixed vs Removable Dental Bridges
Now, as you probably know, a dental bridge is permanent, meaning that the dentist will cement it on your teeth. Once it’s fixed4, you will not be able to take it out.
That being said, there are removable dental bridges. They are less invasive and easy to clean. Not only do they look natural, but they can enhance your appearance and speech.
You may also come across the term partial dentures, as it arrives attached to a plastic base that is supposed to imitate the gums, and it contains false teeth.
Basically, you use it the same way you would a permanent bridge, only you can detach it at night and put it back in the morning. Please note that it takes time for patients to get used to the prosthesis and may have trouble enunciating words at first. Over time, everything falls back into place and you don’t have to worry about eating or speaking.
What Will Happen if no Dental Bridge is Placed over the Pocket?
Losing a tooth leaves a huge opening in the gums that could lead to serious problems. For one, it may cause the nearby teeth to shift out of alignment. And that’s just the beginning of it. When they do, this will eventually lead to the other surfaces leaning forward or backward. And so, at some point a domino effect ensues.
The problem with a crooked bite, other than aesthetics, is that it turns eating into a challenge. Not to mention, it restricts your access to all surfaces during cleaning. If you can’t give your pearly whites a proper brush day in and day out, it will promote build-up of bacteria and plaque. Now, this is an invitation for tooth decay, gingivitis, and gum disease. As you can see, one thing leads to another and it’s only a matter of time before the same fate befalls you.
This applies to the molars as well, even though they are positioned at the back of the mouth. You may think it’s not necessary to add a replacement tooth because you normally see only the front part when you smile. But don’t forget that molars do most of the chewing. You need them. Without them, it may be impossible to enjoy your favourite foods.
For this and other reasons, you should take this problem seriously and sort it out before it’s too late. The longer you postpone it, the more complex and expensive it will get.
Benefits of Dental Bridges
It is generally agreed that patients are better off with their natural teeth; however, when that’s not an option, a tooth bridge has the following perks:
- Helps to keep the shape of your face intact
- Enables you to eat normally
- Facilitates speaking and chewing
- Brings back the smile on your face
- Keeps the teeth aligned
- Is lightweight and comfortable
- Does not require surgery
- Is durable and strong (it can successfully replace a molar)
Disadvantages of Dental Bridges
The only downside of bridging is that the teeth sitting on either side of the gap have to be filed down. This eliminates the enamel and weakens the structure. Not only that but it also makes the teeth much smaller. The process cannot be reversed. If you decide to remove the bridge, the teeth that were supporting the crowns will need new crowns. As for the opening, it will have to be filled with a dental implant.
Dental Bridge Cost: Singapore
If you want to close the pocket between your teeth using dental bridges, it will set you back some $750 at the minimum. The costs could climb to $1,400. After all, you have to consider all aspects of the price. It will involve doctor’s fees, anaesthetic, medication, lab work, etc. The more complex and elaborate the task, the larger the bill.
Q: How many teeth can there be on a dental bridge?
A: A bridge commonly covers a large area in your mouth. Overall, you can put up to 4 false teeth on the prosthesis as long as they have something to stick to.
Q: Is it painful?
A: The procedure is not painful at all. Your dentist will inject a numbing agent to keep any discomfort at bay.
Q: When is a bridge needed?
A: When you are missing a tooth. Dentists may try different techniques to save a damaged tooth, like root canal treatment, but sometimes there is so much one can do. Tooth extraction leaves a large pocket in the gums and it has to be addressed. Getting a dental bridge is one way to do that but it will take a toll on the adjacent teeth.
Q: Can I eat everything I want to after I’ve had bridge work done?
A: You can eat almost everything but it’s crucial to shun sticky foods, nuts, popcorn, snacks, and hard candy.
Q: What is the difference between dental bridge and implant?
A: A dental implant is a free-standing unit that serves to fill a gap. It consists of a tiny post that goes right into the gums and acts as the root of a tooth. This makes it independent from the other teeth.
Q: Is a bridge better than an implant?
A: Both have their pros and cons. While dental implants don’t call for filing of the tooth structure, they are performed through surgery. This creates more time for recovery and makes patients vulnerable to complications.
Q: How long does a dental bridge last?
A: Providing that you care for your teeth the right way, you can expect the bridge to hold up 6-15 years. With proper maintenance in place, you will not need to make any alterations to it anytime soon.
Q: What is the difference between crowning for teeth and bridges?
A: It may be confusing to tell one from the other at first but the difference is quite simple. Crowns are used to restore individual teeth. They act as the outer layer of the tooth and have protective effects. On the other hand, dental bridges can cover a much larger area. They also replace missing teeth (mind you that crowns cannot do that).
Q: Are dental bridges removable?
A: As discussed above, there are removable appliances.