Many people will experience tooth loss at some point in their life. As prosthodontists, we will thoughtfully assess all aspects of your case to help you decide which tooth replacement option is best for you. Dental bridges, popular because of their affordability and convincing appearance, are just one of the options available to our patients.
Dental Bridge Options
A dental bridge (fixed dental prosthesis) — a device used to replace missing teeth — attaches artificial teeth to adjacent natural teeth, called abutment teeth.
If you are missing one or more teeth, you may be aware of their importance to your appearance and dental health. Your teeth work together for many daily functions from eating to speaking. With missing teeth, it is difficult to do these things. Missing teeth can and should be replaced. Fixed bridges are a great way to restore your dental health and appearance.
What exactly is a bridge or fixed dental prosthesis?
A bridge (fixed dental prosthesis) is a device that fills the gap where teeth are absent. Fixed bridges are bonded into place and are supported by either existing teeth or implants. Fixed bridges offer more stability than removable prosthetics but do require that existing teeth are present on either side of the missing teeth.
Why do I need a dental bridge?
Oral functionality and appearance are important reasons for wearing a bridge. A bridge helps support your lips and cheeks. The loss of a back tooth may cause your mouth to sink and your face to look older.
Dental health is the most important reason for a bridge. Teeth were designed to complement each other. Unusual stresses are placed on the gums and other oral tissues when teeth are missing, causing a number of potentially harmful disorders.
Missing teeth can cause speech disorders because they are used to make many of the sounds we use to speak clearly.
How is a bridge attached?
The attachment procedure usually takes two or three appointments to complete. At the first appointment, Dr. Collier will prepare the teeth on either side of the gap by removing a portion of the enamel and dentin.
Since the bridge must be fabricated very precisely to ensure correct bite and to match the opposing tooth, impressions of the teeth are taken and sent to a lab where the bridge will be constructed.
Fixed bridges are typically cemented to the natural teeth next to the space left by the missing tooth. A pontic (false tooth) replaces the lost tooth. Dental crowns, which are cemented onto the natural teeth, provide support for the bridge.
What materials are used?
Bridges can be constructed from ceramics materials such as zirconia or lithium disilicate (Emax), gold alloys, non-precious alloys, porcelain, or a combination of these materials.
How do I take care of my bridge?
A strict regimen of brushing and flossing will keep the bridge and surrounding teeth clean. This is of critical importance as the bridge relies on the neighboring teeth for support. The number one cause of failure of a bridge is recurrent decay of the supporting or abutment teeth that the bridge attaches to.