All of your teeth play an important role in speaking, chewing and in maintaining 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 bridge — a device used to replace missing teeth — attaches artificial teeth to adjacent natural teeth, called abutment teeth or to implants. Bridges are either permanently attached (fixed bridges), or they can be removable.
Fixed bridges are applied by either placing crowns on the abutment teeth/implants or by bonding the artificial teeth directly to the abutment teeth. Removable bridges are attached to the teeth with clasps or by precision attachments.
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. Fixed bridges are a great way to restore your dental health and appearance.
What exactly is a bridge or fixed partial denture?
A bridge (fixed partial denture) is a device, which fills the gap where teeth are absent. Fixed bridges are bonded into place by utilizing existing teeth or implants and can only be removed by a dentist. Fixed bridges offer more stability than their removable counterparts.
Why do I need a bridge?
Oral functionality and appearance are important reasons for wearing a bridge. A bridge helps support your lips and cheeks. Replacing an area that is missing a tooth with a bridge provides increased mastication function, protects the gums, associated facial and mastication muscles, as well as, protects against harmful occlusal habits that may damage the TMJ. A person’s dental health is the most important reason for a bridge. 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.
Additionally, missing teeth can cause speech disorders as they are used to make many of the sounds we use to speak clearly.
How is a bridge attached?
The entire procedure usually takes two to three appointments to complete. At the first appointment, Dr. Jamison will prepare the teeth on either side of the gap by removing a portion of the enamel and dentin or by inserting abutments into the implants. Since the bridge must be fabricated very precisely to ensure the correct bite/fit, develop individual anatomic characteristics, and aesthetically shade match proximal teeth, impressions of the teeth/implants are taken and brought to our lab where the bridge will be fabricated.
Fixed bridges are typically cemented to the natural teeth/implants next to the space left by the missing tooth. A pontic (false tooth) replaces the lost tooth. This is of the utmost importance in maintaing the health of the patients teeth and surrounding tissue.
What materials are used?
Bridges can be constructed from traditional hi-noble gold alloys, porcelain, or a combination of these materials. Furthermore, clinically proven non-metallic materials such as zirconia and composite may be used for individual applications. The primary concern of any restoration is twofold: function and aesthetics. By having our own lab and lab technicians we can make any modifications required to produce the best restoration for each individual application.
How do I take care of my bridge?
A strict regiment 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.