All of your teeth play an important role in speaking, chewing and in maintaining proper alignment of other teeth. If you’re missing one or more teeth, you may be aware of their importance to your appearance and dental health. Your teeth work together for many daily functions from eating to speaking. With missing teeth, it’s difficult to do these things. Missing teeth can and should be replaced. Fixed bridges are a great way to restore your dental health and appearance.
What is a bridge?
A bridge replaces missing teeth by attaching artificial teeth to adjacent natural teeth, called abutment teeth. For support, a bridge is fixed or bonded into position on top of the abutment teeth. To prepare the abutment teeth to accept the bridge, a thin layer of outer tooth structure is usually removed. When the abutment teeth are healthy, a fixed bridge may not be the best option because it requires reduction of healthy enamel. Fixed bridges do, however, offer more stability than removable partial dentures.
Bridges can be constructed from gold alloys, non-precious alloys, porcelain, or a combination of these materials. All visible parts of a bridge are covered in porcelain and are color matched to the surrounding teeth. Sometimes the strength of metal is needed to reinforce the bridge, but these parts are typically not in a visible area.
How is a bridge attached?
The attachment procedure usually takes two appointments to complete. At the first appointment Dr. Mead will prepare the teeth on either side of the gap by removing a portion of the enamel and dentin. Since the bridge must be fabricated very precisely to match the opposing tooth, impressions of the teeth are taken and sent to a lab where the bridge will be constructed. At the second appointment, the bridge is cemented onto the abutment teeth.
How do I take care of my bridge?
A strict regimen of brushing and flossing will keep the bridge and surrounding teeth clean. This is of critical importance as the bridge relies on the neighboring teeth for support.