Zirconia bridges

A zirconia bridge is considered a top quality type of bridge which is stronger, durable and visually appealing as compared to other types of bridges.

It is often preferred to metal ceramic bridges in that it causes less tooth sensitivity and with no sign of the dreaded grey line around the edge of the gums. For many people this is a downside of wearing a bridge.

But one way of avoiding that is to choose an all ceramic bridge or the highly rated zirconia bridge instead.

What is a zirconia bridge?

A dental bridge is a structure in which a false tooth and two crowns are attached to a metal base which acts as a replacement for missing teeth.

The false tooth sits in the gap and is flanked by the two crowns which fit over the natural teeth on each side of the gap. In other words, it ‘bridges’ the gap in your teeth.

A zirconia bridge is different in that it is produced from Zirconium oxide – a tough form of dental ceramic which is also compatible with the body. This means that the body will not reject or react in a negative way to the bridge.

This is a problem with metal based bridges as there are people who have an allergy to the metals used in the bridge.

A zirconia bridge has a translucent appearance and is an ideal match with the rest of your teeth.

Advantages of a zirconia bridge

The main advantages are a strong, stable and great looking bridge which blends in well with the rest of your teeth. Plus the material used to fabricate this bridge is ‘biocompatible’  which means that is kind to living tissue within your body and will not cause any ill effects, e.g. an allergic reaction.

Less preparation is needed which refers to the process you undergo before the crown is fitted. Your dentist reshapes the tooth, removing a tiny sliver which enables a better fit between crown and tooth. But minimal tooth reduction is required for a zirconia crown.

Plus there is no metal base within this bridge which means no ugly looking black line at the edge of the gums which is a common feature of metal ceramic bridges. This is good news from an aesthetic point of view as many people prefer to wear a bridge whose crowns closely match the colour of their natural teeth.

Disadvantages of a zirconia bridge

The advantages of a zirconia bridge have been discussed; but are there any disadvantages of this type of bridge?

Cost is one issue as this type of bridge may be more expensive than the standard metal ceramic bridge. This means shopping around to find the most suitable (and affordable) bridge for you.  But do not be guided by price alone as it is important that you choose a bridge which is best suited to your teeth.

Ceramic is a tough, long lasting material but what can happen is that the surface of the crowns becomes rough which then rubs against natural teeth. This causes them to become worn down and less effective than before. 

One problem with all ceramic bridges is that they can be less resistant to stress or extra forces, e.g. biting compared to metal ceramic bridges. There is an increased risk of chipping or a fracture as a result of this although the newer varieties have a stronger inner structure.

How is a zirconia bridge fitted?

The process for this is the same as for any other type of bridge. Your dentist will assess the current state of your teeth before discussing the pros and cons of the treatment with you.

If you are considered a good candidate for a zirconia bridge then he/she will prepare your teeth for this bridge. The preparation stage is part of a two stage procedure which includes taking an impression of the affected teeth along with supporting x-rays.

It also includes what is known as ‘tooth reduction’ in which the dentist trims the affected teeth with a small drill so that it will enable the crowns to fit over the top.

These are all used in the fabrication of your zirconia bridge. They are sent to a dental laboratory that produces your bridge over a period of two to three weeks.

During this time you will be given a temporary bridge to wear. Once your new bridge has been made you will return for the fitting. Your dentist will fit the new bridge and check that it is a correct fit before cementing it in place.

He or she will then advise you about looking after your bridge.

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