Dentistry has come a long way in the last 100-150 years. Today it is possible to almost painlessly replace teeth, deal with abscesses, and even create the perfect Hollywood smile.
Of course, dentistry existed well before the 1800s. In fact, there is evidence of bamboo being used in China 4,000 years ago. It was simply slotted into the mouth to allow the person to smile relatively naturally.
Today, you can visit a traditional dentist or see a specialist holistic dentist who will take into account your overall health when dealing with oral problems. It’s generally agreed to be a better, more effective, approach.
Part of the modern approach is the ability to replace teeth using implants. But, it’s not the only option. Many people opt for a bridge when dealing with damaged teeth. There are three main types of bridges that you should know about.
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The traditional bridge is effectively a tooth designed to slot into the gap between two other teeth. The tooth is designed to look as natural as possible and allow you to smile as well as chew food normally. To give the tooth strength it is moulded into a shape with supports that hook over the teeth on each side. This does mean the teeth on each side of the gap need to be filed slightly and will need crowns on them: to ensure the bridge affixes securely.
This type of bridge is generally made from metal and coated in porcelain or ceramic, allowing it to look completely natural. For this type of bridge to be used you need healthy teeth on each side of the missing one.
2. The Cantilever Bridge
In some cases, there is no tooth to the side of the missing one. That makes it impossible to secure a false tooth on each side. Instead, a cantilever bridge is used. This effectively means the missing tooth is supported on just one side. The bridge is designed in a similar way to the traditional one but the support only comes from one side.
It’s useful if crowning two teeth are undesirable due to the condition of the tooth or the aesthetic look. It can also be used where a tooth is already supporting another bridge or similar. It’s important to choose a reputable dentist for this process as the cantilever bridge needs to be accurately placed to ensure the forces when chewing are balanced. This helps to prevent injury to healthy teeth.
3. Bonded Bridges
The third option is a bonded bridge. This is the most common option when front teeth need to be replaced. Again, a metal framework covered in porcelain is used. It is affixed to the healthy teeth on each side of the missing one. But, rather than fitting over the teeth which require the healthy ones to be filed, it sits behind them with special metal ‘wings’.
This makes it less invasive and preferably for teeth that are seen more often, such as the front ones.