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There are many (combination of) materials that dentists use for making dental bridges. However , most of the time they are fabricated from porcelain, some kind of metal (e.g. gold) or the two together – porcelain fused to metal. You may want to keep in mind that there is a touch of difference in dental work needed around the area depending on which material is being used.
In the previous articles we covered the basics and the types of dental bridges. Now we look more closely at the materials being used and the process of how an actual dental bridge is made.
We can separate three groups of materials used for making dental bridges – Full Porcelain Bridges, Porcelain Fused to Metal Bridges and Full Metal Bridges.
According to recent tendencies, the popularity of this specific type of dental bridge is rapidly increasing. If we look at the characteristics of it, such as having the same transparency as normal teeth and a completely natural look, it can be understandable why this may be a preferred choice – especially for front teeth.
And with the high-tech tools and materials used in up-to-date practices, your dentist could use it on your back teeth (molars) as well.
Due its strength and durability porcelain fused to metal bridges are still amongst the number one options for dental restoration procedures. This kind of material is used in the molar regions (back teeth) particularly because of the extensive biting force they can bear. Based on the shape of the impression that your dentist took previously, they heat up and fuse the noble metal alloy base with several layers of porcelain in a very high temperature oven. Porcelain can be fused to gold as well if there is enough healthy tooth structure remaining. Using gold means the toughest material and can last longer than any of the others.
This type of dental bridges is made usually from gold but as well as from platinum, palladium and many more. The procedure is the same as previously although there is no porcelain involved. While the strength of a metal bridge is incomparable to the other types, the metallic appearance draws back many patients.
After a thorough examination and discussion with your dentist you will then decide what materials are going to be used for your dental bridge work.
First your dentist takes an impression of the surrounding teeth - an imprint of your teeth and/or soft tissues if you like. This will eventually act as a base support for the bridge.
Next phase would be when your dentist reduces the teeth on either side of the missing tooth or teeth. Abutment teeth are diminished to accommodate the material used. Afterward he or she may readjust the alignment of the bridge to make a perfect fit to your teeth. Neighbouring teeth are then prepared and roughened with, for example, resin, that will serve as ‘glue’. This can then be sent to the lab where the two pieces will be soldered and returned for another try or final cementation.
Another fabrication technique is using CAD/CAM* software to machine the bridge (*Computer-Aided Design and Computer-Aided Manufacturing). With this technology dental restorations can be made on the fly (and on the spot). For example if you have a dental bridge, then it will be done in less than an hour.
On the downside of this method, it has slight accuracy limitations but as it becomes more and more precise with the latest upgrades it can be a good alternative. In the foreseeable future though they are not likely to replace the traditional dental treatments.
On the picture right: Fabricating a dental bridge by CAD/CAM technology
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