Dental Bridges

Missing teeth can have a significant impact on various aspects of life, from eating and speaking difficulties to self-confidence issues and poor nutrition. Fortunately, there are effective ways to replace lost teeth, and one of the most reliable options is dental bridges.

A dental bridge is a prosthesis that relies on support from healthy teeth surrounding the gap left by a missing tooth or teeth. The replacement tooth, known as a “pontic,” is positioned between the abutment teeth, which provide support on either side, similar to a bridge spanning a canyon.

To ensure the abutment teeth can provide the necessary support, they need to be crowned or capped. This process involves removing the enamel of the abutment teeth to create enough space for the crown, which will cover the teeth completely while maintaining a natural appearance. The crowns on the abutment teeth are then connected to the pontic, which is essentially another crown without a tooth underneath.

Building a Bridge

If you have one missing tooth, your dental bridge will consist of three crowns. Two of these crowns will cover the abutment teeth on either side of the gap, while the third crown will be placed in between them, filling in the empty space. This configuration is called a three-unit bridge.

When more than one tooth is missing, additional crowns will be required to bridge the gap, and more abutment teeth may be necessary. The number of missing teeth, the size and length of the abutment tooth roots, the amount of bone support, and the location of the missing teeth are all factors that influence the design of the bridge. It is crucial to consider both tooth replacement techniques and the biology of the supporting gum and bone tissue when engineering and designing the bridge.

What to Expect

The process of getting bridgework typically involves two visits to the dental office. During the first visit, the abutment teeth will be prepared as described above, with the use of local anesthesia to minimize discomfort. Three-dimensional models of your teeth will be created to construct the crowns, which can be achieved through taking a mold of your prepared teeth or using digital scanning equipment. A temporary bridge will be provided to wear until the permanent bridge is ready to be cemented in place. There may be a brief transition period to adjust to the feel of the new bridge against the tongue, lips, and cheeks.

It is important to maintain proper oral hygiene for your crowned teeth, including brushing and flossing daily to reduce dental plaque buildup. Regular cleanings at the dental office are especially crucial when you have a bridge. With diligent care, a well-maintained bridge can last for a long time.

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