Dental Services – Dental Bridge

What is a Bridge, and Why do I Need It?

A bridge is a dental restoration which replaces one or more missing teeth. Your appearance, dental health and the proper functioning of your mouth are all important reasons for wearing a bridge. A bridge helps maintain the natural shape of your face supporting the lips and cheeks. The loss of a back tooth may cause your mouth to sink and your face to look older.

More importantly, your dental health may suffer when teeth are not replaced. Teeth were designed to complement each other. When a tooth is lost, the nearby teeth may tilt toward the empty space, or the teeth in the opposite jaw may move up or down toward the space. This places unusual stress on both the teeth and tissues in your mouth.

In addition, the gum tissues and the bone that hold teeth in place can break down, increasing the risk of gum disease. Teeth that have tipped are difficult to clean, making them more likely to decay. As a result, even more teeth may be lost. Missing teeth can also affect the way you chew and speak. Chewing on only one side may cause stress to your mouth. You also need your teeth to speak properly, since they help you make the many sounds needed in speech.

How is a Bridge Made?

First Appointment

At this appointment, teeth may be removed, if necessary. We then prepare the teeth on either side of each missing tooth by contouring those teeth. An impression is made of the prepared teeth which will be sent to the laboratory for fabrication of the final bridge. A temporary bridge is made for you to wear until your next visit, typically between three and eight weeks, depending on whether teeth were removed.

Second Appointment

After our laboratory finishes your bridge, you will have a second appointment for “seating” (permanent placement). Your bridge is placed with minor adjustments to your bite to ensure the fit. The bridge is then polished and cemented on your tooth. The cement sets in a few minutes, and your bridge is ready for full use after leaving our office.

How is a Bridge Attached?

A fixed bridge is commonly cemented to the natural teeth adjacent or near to the space left by the missing tooth. A false tooth (called a pontic) fills the space left by the lost tooth. The pontic is attached to one or more crowns, which are cemented onto the natural teeth to provide support for the bridge. The pontic and crowns together form the bridge.

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