A dental bridge is a device used to replace missing teeth by attaching prosthetic – or artificial – teeth to their adjacent natural teeth. Why would this implement be necessary? Because all of your teeth are necessary to function normally and in a healthy way. People will sometimes choose to just pull an annoying tooth, thinking that will take care of the problem, only to soon find out how necessary that tooth was to maintaining normal speech, chewing, teeth and jaw alignment, as well as overall gum health. Yes, increased risk of gum disease has proven to be one of the worst side effects of missing teeth. But all of these issues can be minimized with a dental bridge.
Bridges are permanently cemented to the supporting abutment teeth. The alternative is a removable partial denture, which simply attaches to adjacent teeth with metal clasps.
Deciding on a permanent bridge or removable partial denture is a decision that shouldn’t be rushed. Understanding that a fixed bridge is bonded into place and can only be removed by a dental professional may either sound like a great option or may sound a little too permanent for your taste. The alternative, removable partial denture, can be taken out and cleaned. The risk one runs with a removable partial denture is in not being consistent about putting it back in each time it’s been cleaned, potentially creating some of the very problems that the bridge is designed to prevent: the unhealthy movement of surrounding teeth, jaw issues, etc. Fixed bridges offer more of a feeling of a final solution, as well as more stability than their removable counterparts. Their cleaning regimen requires extra attention, though, with conscientious brushing and flossing to keep the bridge and surrounding teeth clean. This is highly important since the bridge relies on the neighboring teeth for support.
Whichever dental bridge you choose, it will work wonders for the overall health and look of your face. While a missing tooth may cause your mouth to sink toward the gap, a bridge will help support your lips and cheeks, giving your face a fuller, more youthful appearance.
The procedure to make a fixed bridge will take two appointments to complete.
The teeth on either side of the missing tooth must be prepared by removing some of the outer enamel and lower edges to ready them for supporting the bridge.
Impressions of the abutment teeth and the opposing teeth are taken. A shade is selected to match your natural teeth. Temporary crowns or a bridge is made for you to wear while the lab makes your bridge.
The impressions are then sent to a dental lab, where the bridge will be constructed. It takes the lab approximately two weeks to make your bridge.
At your next visit we will make sure the bridge is fitting properly, the bite is correct and that you are happy with the way the bridge looks.
When all is correct, the bridge is permanently cemented on to the abutment teeth.
Because bridges have traditionally been constructed from gold alloys, zirconia, porcelain, or a combination of these materials, you can expect to enjoy your fixed bridge for many years to come.