If you recently lost a tooth, your dentist will likely suggest placing a dental bridge 1. 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 like 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 alongside some oral health advice, 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 and to replace them after a significant tooth loss. It consists of different units and their number differs depending on the number of false teeth needed. With the help of modern technology, specialists can create a 3D shape and suitable size that fits perfectly the patient's mouth. Dental bridges are made of different types of material that offers sturdiness and appeal.
In the middle of the prosthesis lies an artificial tooth which is fabricated of porcelain 2, 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 (with a metal base) are far more widespread 3.
Resin is the perfect dental crown material if you want the crown to match your natural tooth colour. Other options include yellow gold, silver metal, palladium, metal alloy, porcelain fused to metal dental crowns, or a metal-ceramic combination. Among the common metals used are nickel and chromium. Gold dental crowns are quite expensive, though. Also, they are not the best alternative for an aesthetic treatment. Most people prefer tooth-coloured materials.
The choice of type of material greatly affects the following aspects: load at fracture, fracture mode, margin quality, and internal fit. It cannot decay or become infected, which doesn't mean you shouldn't keep it clean. Remember that underneath the artificial crowns lie your natural, white teeth that are still prone to cavities and other issues.
The problem with dental bridges is that they use real teeth to hold onto. Each one has to be filed down so that the false tooth can fit over it. Once you do this, there is no going back. You will always need a bridge or a crown on that tooth.
Before this step is furthered, additional procedures like root canals may have to be implemented and a variety of materials used to achieve the goal. For this purpose, the technician will order an X-ray and gum treatment services, as necessary.
Dental Bridge Cost in Singapore
If you want to close the pocket between your teeth using dental bridges, the price ranges from $750 and could climb to $1,400. After all, you have to consider all aspects of the price. It will involve doctor's fees, anaesthetic, medication, material, lab work, etc. The more complex and elaborate the task, the larger the bill. For example, gold alloy dental bridges run $3,000.
Types of Bridges
- Conventional bridges. A traditional bridge is made of a standalone pontic and two abutment teeth that are placed on either side of the dead tooth. It is also referred to as a three-unit dental bridge. Hot or cold foods, acidic foods and beverages can be a problem with sensitive teeth. But if you have a bridge like this one, the crowns are artificial and therefore non-sensitive. As with everything, impeccable oral care is necessary to prolong its shelf life.
- Cantilever bridges. This is not a typical three-unit bridge. Instead, it consists of only two units and it can work in cases where the person has a tooth adjacent to the dead tooth on one side only. A cantilever dental bridge is not recommended most of the time because it may fail over time as the teeth get a lot of pressure. It is especially unsuitable for the back of the mouth where hard food is ground down.
- Maryland/Resin-bonded bridge. This is one of the fastest dental bridges to do. It comes with hinges that are attached to the back of the real teeth on either side of the gap, and serve to hold the bridge in position. They do not require that part of the tooth surface be filed down. Minimal tooth structure is lost and minimal adjustment is required. Of course, they are not as sturdy as traditional versions. This one is also called acid-etched or Maryland bridge. They don't harm adjacent teeth.
- Implant-supported bridges. Instead of artificial crowns, this type of bridge uses implants. No alteration to the natural teeth is needed.
The Restoration Process
An individualised treatment plant is crafted for each patient including the use of suitable materials. On the first visit of your orthodontic treatment, 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. What follows next is bridge preparation. It usually takes up to 90 minutes.
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 cosmetic dentist will insert a tooth-coloured temporary bridge so you are able to eat and speak. It is essential that you avoid eating hard and chewy foods for the time being. Otherwise, a fracture may occur on the temporary tooth before you have your permanent prosthesis in place. This will require more chair time.
During your second appointment, the specialist will inspect the newly-arrived finished 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. A poorly fitted crown traps food and creates a serious problem. It may take a year before that dental crown needs to be replaced.
To avoid the common pitfalls, your dentist will give you post-operative care instructions to follow. With proper care, you can make your dental bridges and crowns last a long time.
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 fixed 4, 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?
Tooth loss 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 backwards. And so, at some point, a domino effect ensues. If no prosthodontic treatments are employed, sooner or later your bite will be severely affected.
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 the build-up of bacteria and plaque. Now, this is an invitation for tooth decay gingivitis 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 depending on the different treatment options.
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 thanks to the crown treatment
- Facilitates speaking and chewing due to corrections of teeth
- Brings back the smile on your face (a smile treatment)
- Keeps the teeth aligned and protects the weakened tooth
- Is lightweight and comfortable and prevents holes in teeth
- Does not require oral surgery (unlike implants which involve a surgical procedure)
- Is durable and strong (it can successfully replace an original tooth like molars)
Disadvantages of Dental Bridges
The only downside of bridging is that the teeth sitting on either side of the tooth 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 dental crowns will need new crowns. As for the opening, it will have to be filled with a dental implant. Additional treatments may be scheduled too.
Dental Bridge Aftercare
Responsibility doesn’t end with walking in and out of the dentist’s office. You will be given home care instructions to follow for the upcoming weeks. It goes without saying that you ought to maintain impeccable oral hygiene from now on. The first 24 hours are critical. Along with your toothbrush, you will be using a special bridge floss threader that serves to clean the space between all parts of the bridge. Feel free to floss like you normally do the day after.
Frequently Asked Questions
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. Experienced dentists may try different techniques to save a damaged tooth, like root canal treatment and dental implant surgery, 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. For it to work, the adjacent teeth will not be decreasing in size, though.
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. Dental crowns are used to restore individual teeth. They are meant to cover a single tooth and acts as the outer layer of the tooth, they have protective effects. On the other hand, dental bridges can cover a much larger area. They also replace missing teeth (mind you that dental crowns cannot do that).
Q: Are dental bridges removable?
A: As discussed above, there are removable appliances.
Q: Can discoloured teeth enamel/crumbly teeth enamel be treated with dental crowns and bridges?
A: Genetic enamel malformation is challenging to treat. When all else fails, crowns may help to mask the problem.