A bridge is structure used to repair the loss of one or more teeth, requiring drilling and covering of the adjacent teeth. The materials of choice are metal-ceramic, zirconia and full ceramic made of lithium dipyrite. Zirconia is a white metal material that replaces traditional metal-ceramic bridges that over time have gray collars around the gums and are also responsible for topical allergies at the periodontal tissues. They are also used as an alternative to titanium implants when the gap is only one tooth. Ceramic bridges made of lithium dipyrite offer the most aesthetically pleasing restoration but have more limited use because they are not very durable.
Zirconia bridge – Material characteristics.
Zirconia is white therefore the porcelain bridges with a zirconia frame have excellent aesthetics. It is also very strong, very durable in time and is used safely in both front and rear bridges that replace a tooth. As a frame, zirconia is thinner than metal, so less tooth drilling is required, therefore less interference with the tooth. Finally, germs do not easily adhere to zirconia, so it is considered to be highly biocompatible, providing a lower chance of developing gum inflammation.
Lithium Dipyrite Bridges (IPS e.max) – Material Characteristics.
Lithium dipyrite bridges are the most aesthetically pleasing restorations. It requires a little drilling of the tooth and they adhere to the tooth with an adhesion that resembles the bond between enamel and dentin, so detachment of such restorations is very rare. However, they have a disadvantage as compared to zirconia bridges as far as duration is concerned, and their use is restricted to anterior areas, only when one tooth is missing and when there is no evidence that the patient has teeth grinding (bruxism).
Metal-ceramic Bridges – Material characteristics.
It is the most classic bridge made of a porcelain-coated metal frame. It is very durable and aesthetically adequate, but inferior to zirconia and lithium dipyrite. Over time it grows a gray collar at the level of the gums that makes it unattractive.
They require quite a lot of drilling of the tooth to find space for the metal and porcelain so they are more intrusive than zirconia bridges as well as lithium dipyrite bridges. They are the most economical option but they favor the retention of dental plaque and irritate the gums. In addition, the most commonly used metals contain nickel, which is responsible for topical allergies and gum irritation in many people.
When are bridges used?
Bridges are necessary when one or more teeth have been lost in order to restore then for aesthetic and functional reasons. In this case, the teeth that support the bridge must be healthy and strong. When more teeth are missing, the greater the burden on the teeth that provide support. For this reason it is advisable to avoid bridges when more than two teeth are missing in a row. In these cases, the choice for restoration is a dental implant that does not burden the adjacent teeth.
Construction stages and times
At the first visit, the teeth adjacent to the gap are drilled to the specifications of the material selected, an impression is taken from the prepared teeth, and a temporary bridge is inserted. At the second visit, the placement and cementing of the bridge will take place. The time between sessions varies between 1-2 weeks.
Durability of the bridge over time
The durability of the bridge over time is ensured through good oral hygiene and regular check-ups by the dentist.
The price of the bridge depends on the type of construction and the number of missing teeth.