A dental bridge is a fixed (non-removable) appliance and is an excellent way to replace missing teeth.
There are several types of bridges. Dr. Alvarez will discuss the best options for your particular case. The “traditional bridge” is the most popular type and is usually made of porcelain fused to metal. Porcelain fixed bridges are most popular because they resemble your natural teeth. This type of bridge consists of two crowns that go over two anchoring teeth (abutment teeth) and are attached to pontics (artificial teeth), filling the gap created by one or more missing teeth.
Dental bridges are highly durable and will last many years, however they may need replacement or need to be re-cemented due to normal wear. In today’s dentistry replacing missing teeth with dental implants is the best choice.
A fixed bridge is recommended for:
- When dental implant can not be used
- Fill space of missing teeth
- Maintain facial shape
- Prevent remaining teeth from drifting out of position
- Restore chewing and speaking ability
- Restore your smile
- Upgrade from a removable partial denture to a permanent dental appliance
Steps to making a fixed bridge Receiving a bridge usually requires two or more visits. While the teeth are numb, the two anchoring teeth are prepared by removing a portion of enamel to allow for a crown. Next, a highly accurate impression (mold) is made which will be sent to a dental laboratory where the bridge will be fabricated. In addition, a temporary bridge will be made and worn for several weeks until your next appointment.
At the second visit, your permanent bridge will be carefully checked, adjusted, and cemented to achieve a proper fit. Occasionally, Dr. Alvarez may only temporarily cement the bridge, allowing your teeth and tissue time to become accustomed to the new bridge. The new bridge will be permanently cemented at a later time.
You will receive care instructions at the conclusion of the procedure. Proper brushing, flossing and regular dental visits will aid in the life of your new permanent bridge.
Fixed Bridge Disadvantages
For many years, the fixed bridge has been the gold standard when replacing a single tooth. It remains an important tooth replacement technique. To make a bridge, the dentist must reshape the abutment teeth so that crowns may be made to cover them. A dental lab makes two crowns and a pontic in one piece. Dr. Alvarez cements or bonds the bridge to the abutment teeth. The bridge is made of porcelain alone or lined with metal. Fixed bridges are durable and long lasting. The advantages are that the bridge will not normally come out, and it will look and feel much like the original tooth. The disadvantage is that if anything happens to one of the abutments the entire bridge may be lost. Also, reshaping a tooth to make it a bridge abutment makes it more likely to require root canal treatment and passive bone and gum loss under the bridge may result.