All of your teeth play an important role in speaking, chewing and in maintaining proper alignment of the other teeth.
Tooth loss doesn’t necessarily have to occur as you age, but if you do lose teeth they must be replaced to maintain proper function of your mouth. Fortunately, there are options for correcting tooth loss. A bridge replaces the missing teeth by attaching to the natural teeth on either side of the space.
What are the capabilities of bridges?
Fixed bridges are applied by either placing crowns on the abutment teeth or by bonding the artificial teeth directly to the abutment teeth. A fixed bridge is permanently cemented to the abutment teeth.
If you’re missing one or more teeth, you may be aware of their importance to your chewing, 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. Missing teeth can and should be replaced. Fixed bridges are a great way to restore your dental health, function and appearance.
What exactly is a bridge or fixed partial denture?
A bridge (fixed partial denture) is a device which fills the gap where teeth are missing. Fixed bridges are permanently cemented into place and can only be removed by a dental professional. Removable bridges (also referred to as partial dentures), 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 replacing missing teeth with a permanent bridge. A bridge helps support your lips and cheeks. Missing teeth can play a role in speech disorders, as teeth are involved in many of the sounds we make in speaking clearly
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 adjacent teeth when teeth are missing, causing a number of potentially harmful disorders.
Increased risk of gum disease has proven to be one of the worst side effects of missing teeth and can be minimized with a bridge.
How is a bridge attached?
The bridge fabrication procedure usually takes two or three appointments to complete. At the first appointment the teeth will be prepared on either side of the space by removing a portion of the enamel and dentin.
Since the bridge must be fabricated very precisely to ensure a correct bite and to match the opposing teeth, impressions or digital scans of the teeth are taken and sent to a lab where the bridge will be constructed. A temporary bridge will be cemented at this appointment to protect the teeth until the final bridge is inserted.
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, which are cemented onto the natural teeth, 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 of critical importance, as the bridge relies on the neighboring teeth for support. Brushing thoroughly around the gum line of the bridge will help to keep the underlying tooth structure healthy.