Literally bridge gaps between teeth that are created by one or more missing teeth. A dental bridge is comprised of two or more crowns for the teeth on each side of the gap. The teeth that anchor the dental bridge are called “Abutment Teeth.” The dental bridge is a fixed prosthetic device that is bonded onto your existing teeth, or implants.
Used most commonly to entirely cover/cap a damaged tooth or cover an implant. Bridges are used to fill-in spaces where you’re missing one or more teeth. They are 6bonded to natural teeth, or implants surrounding the space where the tooth once stood.
In addition to strengthening a damaged tooth, bridges and crowns can be used to improve a tooth’s appearance, shape, alignment and dental occlusion (bite). Gaps left by missing teeth can cause the remaining teeth to shift, which can result in a bad bite. Bridges and crowns help prevent this from happening.
Dental bridges may be indicated if you have one or more missing teeth that may lead to further problems. When one of more teeth are missing, the adjacent teeth may rotate and move out of position, leading to misalignment and an incorrect bite pattern. This may lead to additional grinding and Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) problems. It may also lead to gum disease.
Bridges effectively span the empty space between teeth to complete your smile, provide a correct bit pattern, prevent further dental problems, and make simple tasks, such as eating food feel more natural.
The “anchor teeth” on either side of a dental bridge are called “abutements.” If the abutement teeth are replaced with dental crowns, they’re modified crowns called “pontic teeth” and server as modified anchor teeth.
There are a few material choices for dental bridges and anchor crowns. Which material is selected depends on your personal needs, material costs, and is determined during your dental examination. Cost and tooth coloring may play a role in material choices.
Before installing dental bridges, anchor teeth must be prepared. The anchor teeth must be reduced in size to allow for crowns (pontics) or bridge attachments. The amount of natural tooth material to be removed will be determined by the materials chosen and how healthy the abutement teeth are. The goal is to remove the least amount of natural tooth material possible.
An impression is created of the shape of your teeth after tooth preparation has been performed. This impression provides a guide to create the perfect fit for your dental bridges, but may require fine tuning in the office during your dental visit. Porcelain bridges may be colored to match your current smile, or your goal color for teeth whitening. A temporary bridge may be created and used until your final dental bridge is created and ready for installation.
Temporary dental bridges are removed prior to the installation process and any fine tuning is done during your dental visit. The dental bridge is then cemented onto the abutement teeth and a perfect fit is ensured.
Dental bridges should have a long lifespan, but how long they last depends on a few things. Your eating habits may diminish their lifetime, such as eating very hard foods, poor gum maintenance and health, and the same habits that cause chipping and cracks in natural teeth. Dental bridges may be repaired the same way as natural teeth, dental crowns, and fillings. In the event your dental bridge completely detaches, your abutement teeth may be re-prepared and the dental bridge cemented into place again.
Dental bridges may correct your smile and provide numerous health benefits, when one of more teeth are missing or are removed due to poor dental health. They are an excellent method for creating a perfect smile in more severe situations of tooth loss.
Dental maintenance of your bridges include regular good dental hygiene, gum maintenance, brushing, flossing, mouthwash and avoiding the foods that promote dental decay.