All of your teeth play an important role in speaking, chewing, and maintaining proper alignment of other teeth. Tooth loss doesn’t necessarily have to occur as you age, but if you do lose teeth, they may need replacement to maintain proper mouth function. Fortunately, there are options for correcting tooth loss.
Dental Bridge Options
A bridge—a device used to replace missing teeth—attaches artificial teeth to adjacent natural teeth (abutment teeth). Bridges are either permanently attached (fixed bridges) or removable.
Fixed bridges are applied by either placing crowns on the abutment teeth or by bonding the artificial teeth directly to the abutment teeth. Removable bridges are attached to the teeth with metal clasps or by precision attachments.
If you’re 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’s difficult to do these things. Dr. Mike and Dr. Janet can evaluate your missing teeth to either observe the space or fill the space with a bridge or an implant.
What exactly is a bridge or fixed partial denture?
A bridge (fixed partial denture) is a device that fills the gap where teeth are absent. Fixed bridges are bonded into place, and only dental professionals can remove them. Removable bridges, as the name implies, can be taken out and cleaned. Fixed bridges offer more stability than their removable counterparts.
Why do I need a 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. Dr. Mike and Dr. Janet will help determine if missing teeth are causing unusual stress on the gums and other oral tissues, which can cause a number of potential problems.
Increased risk of gum disease is one of the worst side effects of missing teeth and can be minimized with a bridge or implant.
How is a bridge attached?
The attachment procedure usually takes two or three appointments to complete. At the first appointment, Dr. Mike or Dr. Janet will prepare the teeth on either side of the gap by removing a portion of the enamel and dentin.
Since the bridge must be precisely fabricated to match the opposing tooth and ensure correct bite, 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. Crowns are cemented onto the natural teeth and provide support for the bridge.
What materials are used?
Bridges can be constructed from gold alloys, non-precious alloys, porcelain, or a combination of these materials. Porcelain is often bonded to either precious or non-precious metal.
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 critically important as the bridge relies on the neighboring teeth for support. We also suggest routine dental check-ups.