A dental bridge is a non-removable appliance and is an efficient way to replace lost teeth.
There are several types of bridges. At your appointment, we will discuss the best options for your particular needs.
The most popular type, the traditional bridge, is usually made of porcelain fused to metal. The traditional bridge has 3 to 4 crowns all connected together. The center tooth or teeth are called pontics and are there to replace the missing teeth. The outer teeth are much like a crown that is cemented to the teeth adjacent to the space where the teeth are missing.
Although dental bridges are highly durable and will last many years, they may need replacement or repair due to normal wear.
A bridge cannot be used in all situations. You need adequate supporting teeth to replace some missing teeth. If there are too many teeth missing, often a bridge is not the best option for replacing your teeth. A partial denture or dental implants would be the appropriate consideration.
Fixed bridges are used for:
- Filling the space from missing teeth
- Maintaining facial shape
- Preventing remaining teeth from drifting out of position
- Restoring chewing and speaking ability
- Restoring your smile and appearance
- Dental appliance upgrades
Two appointments are usually needed for this procedure. During the first appointment, while the teeth are numb, the teeth adjacent to the missing tooth are prepared by shaping the exterior to fit the crown(s). Impressions are then made of the teeth to send to the lab. They will custom make a bridge that blends in with the surrounding teeth in size, shape, and often color. A temporary bridge is made to cover your teeth until your new bridge is done.
At your second appointment your temporary bridge will be removed, the teeth will be cleaned, and your new bridge will be placed. Adjustments are made to make the new crowns work well with the existing teeth in your mouth.
The most common reason bridges fail is through decay finding its way under one of the crowns. They bacteria accomplish this by getting into the junction between the crown and the tooth. Therefore, it is important that you work diligently to clean this area well. This often includes the increased need for regular flossing. One of the challenges with a bridge is that flossing is more difficult, requiring special techniques to floss underneath the bridge. If one of the teeth supporting a bridge fails, the entire bridge fails. For this reason, dental implants are often the treatment of choice for replacing teeth.