All of your teeth play an important role in speaking, chewing, and maintaining proper alignment of other teeth. If you lose teeth they should be replaced to maintain proper function of your mouth. Fortunately, there are options for correcting tooth loss.
What is a Dental Bridge?
A dental bridge — a device used to replace missing teeth — attaches artificial teeth to adjacent natural teeth, called abutment teeth. Fixed bridges are applied by either placing crowns on the abutment teeth or by bonding the artificial teeth directly to the abutment teeth.
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, including eating and speaking. When missing teeth, it’s difficult to maintain the same function and quality of life. Fixed bridges are a great way to restore your dental health and appearance.
Why do I need a dental bridge?
Oral functionality and appearance are the important reasons for replacing a missing tooth with a bridge. A bridge helps support the lips and cheeks, which can give a more natural appearance to the face as we age. 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. Using a bridge to replace a missing tooth can help prevent gum disease, tooth drifting, and damage to the surrounding teeth.
How is a dental bridge attached?
The bridge procedure usually takes two or three appointments to complete. At the first appointment Dr. Foley or Dr. Jacobson 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 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. We typically make bridges out of porcelain to allow a fully natural look and feel for the patient.
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.