If you’re missing one or more teeth, you may be aware of the importance to your appearance and your dental health. All of your teeth play an important role in speaking, chewing and in maintaining proper alignment of other teeth. Tooth loss does not necessarily have to occur as you age, but if you do lose teeth, they should be replaced in order to maintain proper function of your mouth. Fortunately, there are options for correcting tooth loss.
What is a Fixed Dental Bridge?
A dental bridge, also known as a fixed bridge or a fixed partial denture, is a device that fills in gaps where teeth are missing. A fixed bridge has two components: the abutments and the pontic(s). The abutments are the natural teeth on either side of the missing tooth/teeth. A pontic is a false tooth that replaces the missing tooth/teeth. The abutments are made of Dental crowns and provide support for the bridge. They are welded to the pontic(s) in a dental lab, creating one continuous unit. Once fabricated, fixed bridges are permanently cemented to the abutment teeth and can only be removed by a dentist.
Why do I need a dental bridge?
Oral functionality and appearance are important reasons for wearing 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.
Dental health is the most important reason for a bridge. Teeth were designed to complement each other. Unusual stresses are placed on the gums and other oral tissues when teeth are missing, causing a number of potentially harmful disorders.
Increased risk of gum disease has proven to be one of the worst side effects of missing teeth and can be minimized with a bridge.
Missing teeth can cause speech disorders as they are used to make many of the sounds we use to speak clearly.
How is a dental bridge made?
The process of having a dental bridge made for your teeth usually takes two or three appointments to complete. Dr. Loeffler, Dr. Pitt or Dr. Stephens will prepare the teeth on either side of the gap by reshaping the teeth and removing a portion of the enamel and dentin. The bridge must be fabricated very precisely to ensure the bite is correct and to match the opposing teeth. Impressions of the teeth are taken and sent to a lab where the bridge will be constructed. The second and third appointments consist of trying in your new bridge to ensure it fits properly. Once the fit of your bridge is verified, we will insert your bridge permanently.
What materials are used for dental bridges?
Bridges can be constructed from gold alloys, non-precious alloys, porcelain, or a combination of these materials. Porcelain is often bonded to either precious or non-precious metal.
How do I take care of my bridge?
It is important to maintain good oral hygiene around your new dental bridge because it relies on the neighboring teeth for support. A strict regimen of brushing and flossing will keep the bridge and surrounding teeth and gums clean and healthy. The clinical team at Loeffler-Pitt Dental Associates will show you exactly how to care for your dental bridge to help ensure its long term success!