If you’re missing one or more teeth, you may be aware of their importance to your appearance and oral functionality. Your teeth work together for many daily functions such as eating and speaking. With missing teeth, it could be difficult to do these things. Fixed bridges are a great way to restore your dental health and appearance.
A fixed dental bridge attaches artificial teeth to adjacent natural teeth, called abutment teeth. Bridge procedures are a lot like crowns in that they are permanently placed.
What exactly is a dental bridge or fixed partial denture?
A bridge (fixed partial denture) is a device which fills the gap where teeth are absent. Fixed bridges are bonded into place and can only be removed by a dental professional.
Why do I need a dental bridge?
Oral health and functionality are the most important reasons for a bridge. Teeth were designed to work with each other, so when there are missing teeth, unusual stresses are placed on the gums and other oral tissues 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.
Additionally, missing teeth can cause speech disorders as they are used to make many of the sounds we use to speak clearly.
Appearance is another reason for having a bridge fabricated. The loss of a tooth could cause your cheeks or lips to sink in making your face look older but a bridge would help support these areas.
How is a dental bridge attached?
The attachment procedure usually takes two or three appointments to complete. At the first appointment Dr. Wakasa or Dr. Carlsmith 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 for dental bridges?
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.