Bridges: FSA Eligibility
What are dental bridges?
Bridges, sometimes known as a fixed partial denture, are used to bridge the gap between one or more missing teeth to restore the look of an individual's smile. While these dental implants can be put into place for cosmetic purposes, they have legitimate medical purposes as well. Bridges can be used to enhance an individual's quality of life by restoring a person's ability to properly chew and speak, distribute the forces in the bite properly, as well as preventing remaining teeth from shifting out of position. Bridges can be constructed from a variety of materials, including gold, alloys, porcelain or composite materials (WebMD).
How is a dental bridge procedure performed?
Before a bridge is installed, the abutment teeth are prepared for the crown that will hold the bridge, which involves re-contouring those teeth by removing some of the enamel from their surface to enable the crown to stay in place. Next, impressions of the teeth are made to create models that will give dental laboratories accurate representations of a person's palette to create accurate bridges to be installed later.
If an individual elects to pursue a bridge to correct a dental imperfection, there are three primary means of methods of constructing them:
- Fixed Bridges: This is the most traditional bridge available that consists of two or more crowns along the gum line, which anchor filler teeth that will make up the main structure of the bridge. The crowns will keep the bridges in place and are usually made with porcelain, which are then fused to metal or ceramics to reproduce the look of a normal smile (American Dental Association).
- Cantilever Bridges: This particular type of bridge is specially made to fill gaps where teeth are only present on one side. In this way, the cantilever bridge is a structure that rests horizontally in a space but is only supported on one side. As such, these bridges are only used in areas of the mouth that do not receive much stress during chewing (National Center for Biotechnology Information).
- Resin-Bonded Bridges: This method is commonly used to replace front teeth, as it supported by metal wings on each side of the bridge that are bonded to the existing teeth. Porcelain is fused to metal teeth, that is then supported by an underlying metal framework to keep the teeth in place. This technique is also known as a Maryland bridge (National Center for Biotechnology Information).