Bridges are devices that are used to replace missing teeth, which can often occur as you age. It’s important to replace missing teeth to maintain the proper functioning of your mouth when it comes to speaking and chewing, as well as maintaining the proper alignment of your other teeth. There are numerous different options for achieving this.
DENTAL BRIDGE OPTIONS
Bridges (fixed partial dentures) are devices that are used to fill the gap where teeth are absent by attaching artificial teeth to adjacent natural teeth, which are known as abutment teeth. They can either be permanently attached (fixed bridges) or can be removable.
Fixed bridges can work in two ways – by placing crowns on the abutment teeth or by bonding the artificial teeth directly to the abutment teeth. Removable bridges, on the other hand, are attached to the teeth using metal clasps or precision attachments and can be taken out and cleaned when necessary.
Fixed bridges offer more stability but they are bonded in place and can only be removed by a dental professional.
WHY DO I NEED A BRIDGE?
Bridges are not only important for the appearance of your teeth but also for their functionality. If you lose a back tooth, for example, it may cause your mouth to sink in. A bridge will help to support your cheeks and lips, keeping your smile and face looking their best.
But the most important reason for a bridge is dental health, with our teeth designed to complement one another and work together. When you lose teeth, it can result in unnecessary stress on your gums and other oral tissues that can lead to a number of unhealthy disorders. The increased risk of gum disease is one of the most common side effects of having missing teeth but they can also cause speech disorders in some cases.
HOW IS A BRIDGE ATTACHED?
Having a bridge attached may take two or three appointments, with the first appointment used to prepare your teeth by removing a portion of the enamel and dentin on either side of the gap. Impressions of the teeth are also taken and sent to a laboratory where a bridge is fabricated to precisely match your opposing tooth and ensure a correct bite.
In subsequent appointments, the fixed bridge will be cemented to the natural teeth on either side of the missing tooth and a pontic (false tooth) is positioned to replace the lost tooth. Crowns will be cemented onto the natural teeth to ensure the bridge has all the support it needs.
WHAT ARE BRIDGES MADE FROM?
Bridges can be constructed from a variety of materials, including gold alloys, porcelain, non-precious alloys or a combination of these materials. In most cases, porcelain is bonded to either precious or non-precious metals to create bridges.
HOW DO I TAKE CARE OF MY BRIDGE?
As your bridge relies on the teeth around it for support, it’s essential that you maintain a strict routine of brushing and flossing to keep them clean and healthy.