A dental bridge, also known as a fixed partial denture, is a dental restoration used to replace a missing tooth by joining permanently to adjacent teeth or dental implants. A dental bridge from Dr. Lisa Mallett or Dr. Murray Knechtel may be suitable for you if you are missing one or more teeth. Aside from the obvious problems of aesthetics, missing teeth may cause a potential chain reaction of dental problems including:
- Other teeth in your mouth drifting out of position
- A poorly aligned bite
- TMJ issues like temporomandibular disorder (TMD)
- Your jawbone shrinking where your teeth are missing
Benefits of a Dental Bridge
A dental bridge is a dental appliance containing one or more artificial teeth (pontics). The bridge is then placed in the mouth by attaching to crowns placed on your teeth on either side of the gap. The purpose of a dental bridge is to:
- Restore your full smile
- Improve your ability to chew and speak
- Maintain the shape of your face
- Properly distribute the force in your bite
- Prevent remaining teeth from drifting out of position
How Are Dental Bridges Made?
A bridge is fabricated by reducing the teeth on either side of the missing tooth or teeth by a preparation pattern determined by the location of the teeth and by the material from which the bridge is fabricated. In other words, the abutment teeth are reduced in size to accommodate the material to be used to restore the size and shape of the original teeth in a correct alignment and contact with the opposing teeth.
Once the teeth are prepared, an impression is taken and sent off to a lab for processing. The new bridge is usually sent back to the office within 1-2 weeks. To ensure protection and aesthetics, a temporary bridge is made in-office while the final bridge is being processed. Once returned, the temporary bridge is removed, and the final bridge is permanently cemented.
Not only does a bridge restore function and aesthetics, but it also prevents the surrounding teeth from drifting out of position and fill spaces that would otherwise leave surrounding teeth susceptible to tooth decay. Clearly a dental bridge is an excellent treatment option.
The best candidate for a dental bridge is a person with one or more missing teeth and good dental hygiene. Special attention to hygiene at home will need to be taken, especially flossing under the bridge. Furthermore, dental visits, including professional cleanings, should be completed every six months.