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, and bridges are a great way to restore your dental health and appearance.
What is a Bridge?
A bridge is a method of replacing missing teeth that attaches artificial teeth to adjacent natural teeth. Bridges can be permanently attached or fixed, or they can be removable. Fixed bridges can be placed by putting crowns on the adjacent (abutment) teeth or by bonding the bridge directly to the abutment teeth. Removable bridges can be attached to the abutment teeth with metal clasps or precision attachments. Fixed bridges are bonded into place and can only be removed by a dental professional. Removable bridges, as the name implies, can be taken out and cleaned. Fixed bridges offer more stability than their removable counterparts.
Why Would I Need a Bridge?
There are many reasons why Dr. Lowenguth may recommend bridges. Bridges can improve both functionality of the teeth and their physical appearance. Missing teeth can cause gum problems, speed up facial aging, and speech disorders if not properly treated.
Bridges take two to three appointments to install. At the first appointment, the teeth on either side of the bridge will be prepared for the procedure by removing a portion of the enamel and dentin. Bridges must be personally made for each patient, so impressions will also be taken.
At the second appointment, the bridge is attached either by bonding to the abutment teeth or a false tooth is inserted. Crowns, which are cemented onto the natural teeth, provide support for the bridge. Bridges can be constructed from gold alloys, non-precious alloys, ceramic, or a combination of these materials. Porcelain is often bonded to either precious or non-precious metal.
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.