All of your teeth play an important role in speaking, chewing and in maintaining proper alignment of other teeth. Tooth loss doesn’t necessarily have to occur as you age, but if you do lose teeth they must be replaced to maintain proper function of your mouth. Fortunately, there are options for correcting tooth loss.
A dental bridge — a non-removable device used to replace missing teeth — attaches to adjacent natural teeth, called abutment teeth. Bridges are permanently attached (fixed bridges) to several of your remaining natural teeth..
What exactly is a dental bridge?
A fixed bridge fills the gap where teeth are absent. Fixed bridges are bonded into place and cannot removed by the patient. Fixed bridges offer much more stability than removable dentures.
Fixed bridges are fabricated by placing tooth-coloured crowns (Caps) on the abutment teeth on either side of the space created by a lost tooth. They are then joined by a lab-fabricated replacement tooth that fills in the space from the missing tooth. The entire bridge is cemented into place as one continuous piece.
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. And a bridge helps you regain your original chewing power and helps evenly distribute strong forces over a much larger area in your mouth.
Teeth were designed to complement each other. Unusual stresses are placed on the gums, teeth 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. And the risk of jaw joint problems (TMJ) also increases with an increase in missing teeth.
How is a dental bridge made?
The entire procedure usually takes two or three appointments to complete. At the first appointment Dr. Maralani or Dr. Simonsky will prepare the teeth on either side of the gap by removing a very small portion of the natural teeth to be used to support the bridge . A temporary acrylic bridge filling your space will be made chairside so you will never be without teeth.
Since the bridge must be fabricated very precisely to ensure correct bite and to match the opposing tooth, impressions of the teeth are taken at appointment #1 or #2 and sent to a lab where the bridge will be constructed.
Fixed bridges are typically placed over the natural teeth next to the space left by the missing tooth. At appointment #3, the pontic (false tooth) connected to the Dental crowns is cemented onto the perpared natural teeth all in one piece.
Since the fabrication af a dental bridge is a very precise procedure you may be asked to visit the lab directly for a custom fit check or further colour customization to more closely match your existing teeth shade.
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?
A strict regimen of brushing and flossing will keep the bridge and surrounding teeth clean. This is of critical importance as the bridge relies on the neighbouring teeth for support. If you develop cavities under your bridge that cannot be accessed by regular dental procedures, then the bridge will have to be removed and a new bridge made. You may also need extra procedures such as crown lengthening surgery or root canal treatment before your new bridge is placed. Dr. Simonsky’s team will instruct you on methods of bridge hygiene and provide you with several specialized devices that will help you achieve long life for your teeth and bridge.