A Closer Look at Dental Bridges
A dental bridge is a prosthesis that permanently replaces a missing tooth with crowns. A fixed bridge consists of two crowns cemented to abutment teeth, which are on either side of the missing tooth space. Crowns hold the replacement tooth, called a “pontic,” in place. Unlike a removable partial denture, the fixed bridge stays cemented in the mouth and can only be removed by a dentist. This means that fixed bridgework offers a more secure and stable option than removable partials.
Oral Health Benefits of Dental Bridges
Replacing a missing tooth has many functional and esthetic benefits. Replacing a tooth prevents other teeth from shifting and crowding or spacing out. It also improves your smile dramatically by filling in a dark space left behind by a missing tooth.
Who is a Candidate for Dental Bridges?
Anyone who has a missing or non-restorable tooth with two healthy teeth adjacent to it are candidates for a dental bridge. When a tooth is missing and an implant is not an option, a bridge can be made to replace it. The missing tooth is best restored when there is one or more teeth on either side of it because these teeth are used to support the bridge. Good periodontal health is important to the longevity of a bridge.
The Bridgework Placement Procedure
First, your dentist will evaluate the adjacent teeth to determine if a bridge is appropriate for you. An impression of the open space will be taken. This impression will serve as a model for a temporary bridge. The temporary bridge is used to protect the gums and teeth until the permanent bridge has returned from the dental lab and can be cemented into place. This treatment requires placing a crown on the teeth on either side of the missing tooth and attaching the missing crown in between them. The result is a single piece with 3 or more teeth connected to each other via a biocompatible framework. The bridge is then boned into place with permanent dental cement. The procedure can take anywhere between 2-3 appointments depending on your individual case.