Your teeth do more than sparkle and shine. They play an important role in your ability to speak and chew and each tooth helps maintain the proper alignment of other teeth. Tooth loss doesn’t necessarily have to occur as you age, but if you do lose teeth, they must be replaced to maintain proper function of your mouth. Fortunately, there are options for correcting tooth loss. A dental bridge is one way to replace missing teeth by filling any gap where teeth are absent, restoring your smile to its original beauty.
Dental Bridge Procedure
If you have a space from a missing tooth or teeth, a dental bridge will be custom made to fill in the space with a false tooth or teeth. The false tooth is attached by the dental bridge to the two other teeth around the space, bridging them together.
How is a dental bridge accomplished?
To get ready to place the false tooth or teeth, your cosmetic dentist will prepare the teeth that are on either side of the space. You will be given a mild anesthetic to numb the area, and the cosmetic dentist will remove an area of each abutment (teeth on either side of the space) to make room for the crown’s thickness. When these teeth already have fillings, part of the filling may be left in place to help as a foundation for the crown.
The dentist will then make an impression that will serve as the model from which the bridge, false tooth and crowns will be made by a dental laboratory. A temporary dental bridge will be placed for you to wear while your dental bridge is being made until your next visit. This temporary bridge will protect your teeth and gums.
Your cosmetic 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 dental bridge is placed. A Flipper can be attached with 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 and 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. There are two crowns holding it in place that are attached onto your teeth on each side of the false tooth. This structure 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 could with removable partial dentures.
Resin Bonded Bridges
The 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 metal 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.
In areas of your mouth that are under less stress, such as your front teeth, a cantilever bridge may be used. 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.