What is a dental bridge?
A bridge — a device used to replace missing teeth — attaches artificial teeth to adjacent natural teeth, called abutment teeth. Bridges are permanently cemented (fixed bridges) and can only be removed by a dental professional. Fixed bridges offer more stability than their removable counterparts.
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.
Why do I need a bridge?
Dental health and appearance are important reasons for getting a bridge.
A bridge helps support your lips and cheeks. The loss of a back tooth may cause your mouth to sink and your face to look older. Missing teeth can cause speech disorders as they are used to make many of the sounds we use to speak clearly.
Dental health is another important reason for a bridge. Teeth were designed to complement each other. Unusual stresses are placed on the remaining teeth, as well as gums and other oral tissues when teeth are missing, causing a number of potentially harmful disorders.
Missing a tooth may cause remaining teeth to shift and tilt around the empty space. This directly affects your bite in a negative way. It contributes to food impaction which leads to gum and decay issues.
How is a bridge attached?
The attachment procedure usually takes two or three appointments to complete. At the first appointment, Dr. Chad Colson or Dr. Jill Colson will reshape the teeth on either side of the gap, make a digital impression, and fabricate a tooth-colored temporary bridge.
The bridge must be fabricated very precisely to ensure the correct bite and to match the opposing tooth. The digital impressions of the teeth are sent to our software system where the bridge is constructed in-house.
Fixed bridges are typically cemented to the natural teeth next to the space left by the missing tooth. A pontic (false tooth) replaces the lost tooth. Crowns, which are cemented onto the natural teeth, provide support for the bridge.
What materials are used?
Our bridges are fabricated using zirconium oxide– a very strong, esthetic, tooth-colored material.
How do I take care of my bridge?
A strict regimen of brushing, flossing, and use of an oral irrigator will keep the bridge and surrounding teeth clean. It is also important to maintain a low sugar diet to decrease the risk of decay around the supporting teeth. This is of critical importance as the bridge relies on the neighboring teeth for support.