For patients who are missing one or more teeth, deciding on the best option for tooth replacement can be challenging. Should you invest in dental implants? Is a partial denture the only way to go? Should you just continue living with a missing tooth? One option worth considering if you are not a candidate for implants is a fixed dental bridge.
Dental Bridges Explained
A dental bridge is a fixed prosthodontic device that replaces one or more missing teeth. Bridges require that there be strong, healthy teeth on either side of the gap; they need anchors on both sides. If you are missing teeth in an area where two anchor points are not available, you may need to consider a partial denture or implants.
Dental Bridge Preparation
In order to place a fixed dental bridge, your anchor teeth must be properly prepared. This involves removing a large portion of two natural teeth and fitting them with dental crowns. These crowns are called abutments, and they are what support the bridge.
Before the crowns are placed, your dentist will take a partial impression of your mouth. A dental laboratory will use this to create a custom, perfectly fitted dental bridge for you. Your dentist will apply temporary crowns while this process is happening, in order to protect the reduced natural teeth.
Dental Bridge Placement
When the lab has completed your bridge, it is time for placement. After removing the temporary crowns, your dentist will insert the bridge and check the fit. Some adjustments may be necessary, even though the bridge was custom made for you. It’s important that the bridge fits firmly and comfortably, and that it provides the proper bite. When your dentist is satisfied with the fit, he or she will permanently cement the bridge to your teeth.
Your new bridge can greatly increase the function of your teeth and improve your quality of life. With proper care, a fixed dental bridge can last a lifetime. However, it is vital that you continue with your regular dental appointments. Our dentist will need to clean your teeth and bridge regularly, as well as check the integrity of the structure. If you experience any discomfort or complications, be sure to schedule an appointment right away.