Is a Bridge Necessary?
A bridge is a fixed prosthetic device that is designed to replace a missing tooth. As opposed to removable devices such as dentures, bridges are cemented onto to the existing teeth, and only a dentist may remove them. A bridge is a traditional, tried and tested method of replacing missing teeth. Bridges have been in use for hundreds of years, and the technology and materials used for making bridges have improved greatly over the years.

Modern bridges look natural and help to enhance the aesthetics of the patient. The predictability or the success rate with bridges is very high because the procedure has been almost perfected over the years.

A bridge becomes necessary if the patient is not fit or not ready for a dental implant. By design, the bridge requires the support of the adjacent teeth to be used as anchors. Therefore, the operating dentist must take good care to examine the health of the anchor teeth. The anchor teeth must be very strong periodontally and structurally.

A bridge will typically span the space where the natural teeth are missing. Just as with the crowns, the patient also has a choice of materials to be used for making the bridge. The dentist can guide the patient about the choice of available materials, and their advantages and disadvantages. The factors that will determine the choice of material will primarily include the location of the missing tooth, the function of the missing tooth, the aesthetic aspects, and the cost of material. For instance, if the bridge is to be placed in a location where it may be visible while talking or eating, porcelain may be a good option. Porcelain bridges can be matched to the natural color of the teeth, making it an aesthetically acceptable option for the patient.

The patient must practice good oral hygiene, avoid chewing on hard substances and visit the dentist periodically. These simple steps will enhance the life of bridgework and allow it to function without trouble for a long time.
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