Bridge: A prosthetic replacement of one or more missing teeth cemented or otherwise attached to the abutment teeth or implant replacements.
About Dental Bridges
A dental bridge or bridges are used to replace and fix a missing tooth or missing teeth. When teeth are missing, they need to be replaced to prevent future problems such as:
- Shifting teeth
- Trouble keeping plaque and bacteria from your teeth
- Bone loss in your jaw
- Difficulty chewing
- Clenching and grinding your teeth
Pain in your TMJ (jaw joint)
Your teeth will begin to shift and extrude out of their sockets when a tooth or teeth are missing because the biting forces change. When your biting forces change, a chain reaction of problems will occur depending on how long you delay getting a dental bridge.
Shifted teeth or teeth that extrude out of their sockets help create places around your teeth for plaque and bacteria to hide. The accumulation of plaque and bacteria around your teeth can cause tooth decay, periodontal gum disease, bad breath and dental cavities. Also, improper chewing forces can lead to loose teeth and even bone loss in your jaw, especially when tooth decay, periodontal gum disease or dental cavities exists. Chewing food is difficult when you have an uneven bite and may cause bruxism or pain in your TMJ (jaw joint).
Which dental bridge is right for you?
At your appointment, we will perform a thorough examination, which will include taking x-rays and examining your teeth to determine if and what type of dental bridge is right for you.
Types of dental bridges:
- Traditional Dental Bridge (Three Unit Bridge)
- Cantilever Dental Bridge
- Bonded Dental Bridge (Maryland Bridge)
- Dental Bridge with an Implant
The most common type of dental bridge is a traditional bridge, also known as a three-unit bridge. A traditional three-unit bridge is used to replace missing teeth when teeth are available on both sides of your missing tooth. A traditional three-unit bridge consists of three parts. A pontic is held together by two abutments (crowns) and is custom made in the dental laboratory to accurately fit your teeth. The pontic replaces the area where your missing tooth was and the two abutments (crowns) are attached to the two teeth surrounding your missing tooth.
Another type of dental bridge is a cantilever. A cantilever bridge is used when there are teeth on only one side of the empty space. A cantilever bridge involves attaching the pontic to one or more adjacent teeth with one or two abutments (crowns).
A bonded dental bridge also known as a Maryland dental bridge is often used when teeth are missing in the front of your mouth. A bonded dental bridge involves fusing the pontic to metal bands and bonding the metal bands to the back of the abutment teeth.
A dental bridge with an implant is used when the teeth and gums surrounding your missing teeth are in good condition and free of periodontal disease. A dental bridge with an implant is an artificial tooth root that is placed into the jawbone or onto the jawbone to hold a dental bridge.
A dental bridge is made of porcelain fused to metal or all porcelain. All porcelain bridges are made entirely of porcelain and look identical to your natural teeth which eliminates the dark blue line at the edge of the gums that occurs with porcelain fused to metal dental bridges. Also it is easier to place an all porcelain crown above the gum line allowing for healthier gums and teeth. All porcelain bridges used to be a bit fragile, but with the development of stronger pressed porcelain, today all porcelain bridges are similar to porcelain fused to metal bridges in terms of strength and durability.
Fitting Your Dental Bridge
Once we determine which dental bridge is right for you, we will take impressions of your mouth to use as a model to ensure that your bridge fits your teeth and bite precisely. We often place a temporary bridge, while your are waiting for your bridge (1-2 weeks). At your delivery appointment, we will make sure the bridge fits your mouth and your bite is correct before we cement or bond the bridge into place. It may take two or more appointments to complete the process of getting a dental bridge.
Proper Care of a Dental Bridge
Once your dental bridge is placed, the success of it depends of how you care for your bridge and the teeth and gums that support your bridge. Thoroughly flossing and bushing every time you eat and scheduling a dental exam every 6 months is very important to the success of your dental bridge. It may be challenging to keep your dental bridge and surrounding teeth and gums free from plaque, but superfloss and floss threaders can help you succeed in the care of your dental bridge. At first, it may seem a little awkward, but soon your bridge will feel comfortable and be easy to maintain.
Contact us today to make your appointment: