What Is a Dental Bridge?
When you lose a tooth, an empty space in your dentition is left behind. A dental bridge is a restoration designed to “bridge” that gap. Typically made out of ceramic, a bridge can be used to replace up to three consecutive missing teeth. Your replacement tooth (or teeth), which is known as a pontic tooth, is set between two dental crowns. The dental crowns are set over the healthy teeth adjacent to the empty space (the abutment teeth), which act as an anchor, effectively holding the bridge in place.
Placing Your Dental Bridge
The procedure for placing a dental bridge takes two visits and is similar to placing a dental crown. At your first appointment, we prepare the abutment teeth, a process that is done under a local anesthetic. Preparing the teeth involves removing a portion of the enamel. This is done so that the bridge can fit naturally, and comfortably, in with the rest of the teeth. Once the teeth have been prepared, we then take an impression of your mouth. The impression is sent to our lab, where your custom bridge is designed and created. It can take up to two weeks for the bridge to be completed, so a temporary bridge will be placed in the meantime. When the bridge is finished, you will return for your next visit, we will check the bridge for fit and cement it in place.
Care for Your Dental Bridge
A bridge does not require any special care beyond your normal oral care routine. They should be brushed and flossed just like the rest of your natural teeth. It is also important to have professional dental cleanings and exams. While bridges cannot experience decay and cavities, they can collect plaque and bacteria, which can contribute to tooth decay of your healthy teeth and gum disease. Bridges can last 15 years or more when properly cared for.
Benefits of Dental Bridges
If you are missing teeth, even just one, getting them replaced is essential for restoring the functions of your mouth and giving you back your quality of life. For more information, or to find out if dental bridges are right for you, contact Jon C. Packman DDS today.
Porcelain Dental Bridges
Porcelain dental bridges are fixed appliances that will work to restore the structure and function of your teeth after tooth loss. These appliances are non-removable, so they will become a permanent part of your smile. The bridge contains two porcelain crowns fused to metal that will slip over two anchoring teeth found on either side of the artificial teeth. The bridge then fills the gap that was created due to tooth loss.
Reasons for Choosing a Fixed Bridge
There are numerous reasons that you might choose a fixed bridge to correct your tooth loss:
Getting Your Fixed Bridge
The process of getting your bridge will generally require at least two appointments with your dentist. Your teeth will be numbed to keep you comfortable throughout the procedure, and the anchoring teeth will then be prepared by having a thin portion of the enamel removed to make room for a crown. Molds will be made of your teeth to be sent to a dental lab, and the bridge is fabricated at this facility. You may also be able to wear a temporary bridge until your follow-up appointment, which will usually be scheduled about two weeks out.
At your next visit, we'll remove your temporary bridge, and the new bridge will be checked for proper fit. Once it is determined that the appliance is ready, it will be bonded or cemented into place.
Caring for Your Dental Bridge
Bridges are created to be highly durable, and with proper care, they can last for several years. However, even normal wear can require them to need replacement, so be sure to follow up with your dentist regularly to ensure that your appliance is still in good shape. You should also be sure to brush and floss properly in order to keep your remaining teeth healthy and avoid future tooth loss.