All of your teeth play an important role in speaking, chewing, and in maintaining proper alignment of other teeth. Tooth loss does not necessarily have to occur as you age, but if you do lose teeth, they should be replaced to maintain proper function of your mouth.
What is a bridge?
A bridge is a device which fills the gap where teeth are absent. A bridge attaches artificial teeth to adjacent natural teeth, called abutment teeth. Bridges are applied by placing crowns on the abutment teeth, and the artificial teeth are connected to the crowns as one piece. Fixed bridges are cemented into place and can only be removed by a dental professional.
If you’re missing one or more teeth, you may be aware of their importance to your 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 and appearance.
Why do I need a bridge?
Oral functionality and appearance are important reasons for wearing a bridge. A bridge helps support your lips and cheeks. The loss of a back tooth may cause your mouth to sink and your face to look older.
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 other oral tissues 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 attachment procedure usually takes two or three appointments to complete. At the first appointment Dr. Toothman and Dr. Reid will prepare the teeth on either side of the gap by removing a portion of the tooth structure.
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. Crowns, which are cemented onto the natural teeth, provide support for the bridge.
What materials are used?
Bridges can be constructed from many different materials or a combination of them. Most commonly, they are constructed from zirconia, porcelain, porcelain fused to metal, or gold.
How do I take care of my bridge?
In addition to routine cleanings, a strict regimen of daily 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.