What Are Dental Bridges?
A dental bridge, also known as a fixed prosthesis, is a common way to replace single or multiple missing teeth. Typically, there should be stable, healthy teeth on either side of the missing tooth or teeth to successfully prepare and deliver a dental bridge. The supporting existing teeth on either side of the space (missing tooth or teeth) are referred to as ‘abutment teeth, and the ‘bridge retainer’ is essentially like a crown (or cap) that is custom fit to cover the abutment teeth. The ‘bridge pontic’ is a false tooth that replaces the missing tooth or teeth, and it is fabricated in the lab at the same time as the ‘bridge retainer’. The bridge retainers and pontic(s) form the dental bridge and are almost always a single, solid piece.
What Does A Dental Bridge Consist Of?
There are four parts to the dental bridge procedure:
- Bridge preparation – the abutment teeth are ‘shaved down’ by approximately 1 to 1.5mm or more to accommodate the custom-made bridge retainers. The walls of the preparations must have the correct ‘draw’ or parallelism.
- Impression – impression material is used to make an accurate mold of the teeth being treated, the surrounding teeth, and bite. Impressions of all top and bottom teeth are made. This can also be accomplished digitally using a specialized scanner instead of impression material.
- Temporary bridge fabrication and placement.
- Cementation of the permanent bridge – the permanent dental bridge is cemented in place using a permanent adhesive. The bite is checked and adjusted as needed.
Bridges, like crowns, can be made of different materials, such as base metal alloy, gold alloy, porcelain, porcelain fused to metal, zirconia, porcelain fused to zirconia.
Who Needs A Dental Bridge?
Certain issues can cause teeth to shift position and change your bite. These changes may lead to headaches, jaw pain, and a higher risk of periodontal disease. Bridges serve several purposes:
- They restore a healthy bite to make chewing easy
- Bridges may improve your smile
- They may maintain facial contours
- May decreases damage to other teeth from an uneven bite.