A bridge (fixed partial denture) is a device that 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 jaw joint (TMJ). A person’s dental health is the most important reason for a bridge. Teeth were designed to complement each other. Unusual stress is 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 maintaining the health of the patient's teeth and surrounding tissue.