A dental bridge is a false tooth, known as a pontic, which is fused between two porcelain crowns to fill in the area left by a missing tooth. This is known as a fixed bridge. This procedure is used to replace one or more missing teeth. Fixed bridges cannot be taken out of your mouth as you might do with removable partial dentures.
Bridges can reduce your risk of gum disease, help correct some bite issues and even improve your speech. Bridges require your commitment to serious oral hygiene, but will last as many as ten years or more.
Overview of the dental bridge procedure.
If you have a space from a missing tooth, a bridge will be custom made to fill in the space with a false tooth. The false tooth is attached to the two other adjacent teeth around the space – bridging them together.
How is the dental bridge accomplished?
Your dentist will prepare your teeth on either side of the space for the false tooth. You will be given a mild anesthetic to numb the area, and your dentist will remove an area of each abutment (teeth on either side of the space) to accommodate for the thickness of the crown.
The dentist will then take an impression, which will serve as the model from which the bridge, false tooth and crowns will be fabricated by a dental laboratory. A temporary bridge will be placed for you to wear while your bridge is being fabricated until your next visit. This temporary bridge will serve to protect your teeth and gums.
Your dentist may have you use a flipper appliance. A flipper is a false tooth to temporarily take the place of a missing tooth before the permanent bridge is placed. A flipper can be attached via either a wire or a plastic piece that fits in the roof of your mouth. Flippers are meant to be a temporary solution while awaiting the permanent bridge.
On your second appointment, the temporary bridge will be removed. Your new permanent bridge will be fitted, checked and adjusted for any bite discrepancies. Your new bridge will then be cemented to your teeth.
There are three types of dental bridges:
Traditional Fixed Bridge: A dental bridge is a false tooth, known as a pontic, which is fused between two porcelain crowns to fill in the area left by a missing tooth. This is known as a fixed bridge. This procedure is used to replace one or more missing teeth. Fixed bridges cannot be taken out of your mouth as you might do with removable partial dentures.
Resin-Bonded Bridges: A resin-bonded bridge is primarily used for your front teeth. Less expensive, this bridge is best used when the abutment teeth are healthy and don’t have large fillings. The false tooth is fused to bands that are bonded to the abutment teeth with a resin which is hidden from view. This type of bridge reduces the amount of preparation on the adjacent teeth.
Cantilever Bridges: Cantilever bridges are used when there are teeth on only one side of the open space. This procedure involves anchoring the false tooth to one side over one or more natural and adjacent teeth.