Dental BridgesMissing teeth can and should be replaced, and a dental bridge is an excellent way to do that.
Losing a tooth is actually a big deal, and not just because it affects your appearance—which it eventually will do, even if the missing tooth is in the back of your mouth. A missing tooth also affects your dental health.
We discuss more about the related health issues here: Missing Teeth: Yes, It’s a Serious Matter
If you’re missing one or more teeth, we can replace it—or them—with a fixed bridge, restoring both your appearance and dental health.
What Is A Bridge?
A dental bridge is a permanent restoration made to fill the space of a missing tooth. A lab-made tooth, called a pontic, is permanently bonded to one or more teeth (called abutment teeth) that are next to the empty space.
The abutment teeth support the pontic tooth, which looks identical to a real tooth and is normally made of porcelain or zirconia.
There are three main types of bridges:
- A Traditional Bridge is the most common and involves prepping the teeth next to the empty space to hold the abutment crowns that will permanently bond to the pontic tooth between them. A traditional bridge can consist of several pontics and abutment crowns when replacing side-by-side missing teeth.
- A Cantilever Bridgeis when the pontic tooth is bonded to only a single abutment crown and is mainly used when you have only one tooth next to the empty space.
- A Maryland Bridge is when a pontic tooth is bonded to the back (lingual) sides of the abutment teeth using “wings” made of porcelain or metal. Our main reason for placing a Maryland Bridge would be to fill in the space of congenitally missing permanent teeth.
A bridge procedure in our office will normally require two to three appointments.
Appointment 1: Preparation
- We’ll take an initial impression of your teeth to use for making a temporary bridge.
- We prepare or “prep” your abutment teeth by removing any decay and old fillings along with shaping the outer portion of your teeth to accommodate the thickness of the crowns.
- Next, we take a final impression of your teeth to provide our lab with an exact model of the prepped teeth along with your tooth shade.
- We’ll then use your initial impression to fabricate a temporary bridge for you to wear, which will protect your teeth and gums and maintain the proper spacing until your permanent bridge is ready.
Appointment 2: Framework Try-In if Needed
- If we’re preparing a bridge made of porcelain fused to metal (an alloy consisting of white gold and other metals), we may want to do a try-in of the metal bridge frame before the lab applies the porcelain to it. This would be the second of three visits.
- During this visit, we’ll remove your temporary bridge and try in the metal framework for proper fit and function. We’ll make any adjustments, if needed, and then return the framework to the lab for final fabrication.
Appointment 3: Bridge Seat
This appointment typically occurs two weeks from your prep appointment or one week from your framework try-in appointment (if one is needed).
- We remove the temporary bridge and try in your new permanent bridge to make sure it fits perfectly.
- Once we are satisfied that the fit and shade are exact, we’ll cement your new bridge in place with permanent cement.
Taking care of your new permanent bridge is essential to maintaining your overall oral health and will help your bridge to last and function for years to come!
Click here for After Crown and Bridge Procedures.