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 should be replaced to maintain proper function of your mouth. Fortunately, there are replacement options for missing teeth.
What exactly is a bridge or fixed partial denture?
A bridge (fixed partial denture) is a device which fills the gap where teeth are absent. Fixed bridges are bonded into place and can only be removed by a dental professional. Removable bridges, as the name implies, can be taken out and cleaned. Fixed bridges offer more stability than their removable counterparts.
Dental bridge as a replacement option
A bridge attaches artificial teeth to adjacent natural teeth, called abutment teeth. Bridges are permanently cemented into place and do not have to be removed.
Fixed bridges are applied by either placing crowns on the abutment teeth or by bonding the artificial teeth directly to the neighboring teeth.
If you’re missing one or more teeth, you may be aware of their importance to your appearance and dental health. Your teeth work together for many daily functions from eating to speaking. With missing teeth, it can be difficult to do these things. Missing teeth can and should be replaced. A bridge is a great way to replace a missing tooth.
Why do I need 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. It also causes a loss of support for front teeth, resulting in increased wear, chipping and/or breaking of front teeth. Replacing back teeth increases your chewing efficiency and helps to protect your front teeth. In some instances missing teeth can cause speech disorders as they are used to make many of the sounds we use to speak clearly.
Dental health is the most important reason for a bridge. Unusual stresses are placed on the gums and other oral tissues when teeth are missing can cause a number of potentially harmful disorders.
HOW IS A BRIDGE ATTACHED?
The attachment procedure usually takes two or three appointments to complete. At the first appointment we will prepare the teeth on either side of the gap by removing a portion of the enamel and dentin.
Since the bridge must be fabricated very precisely to ensure correct bite and to match the opposing tooth, impressions of the teeth are taken and sent to a lab where the bridge will be constructed.
Fixed bridges are typically cemented to the natural teeth next to the space left by the missing tooth. A pontic (false tooth) replaces the lost tooth. Crowns, which are cemented onto the natural teeth, provide support for the bridge.
What materials are used?
Bridges can be constructed from metal alloys, porcelain, or a combination of these materials. All of our bridges are fabricated by local labs right here in Minnesota.
How do I take care of my bridge?
A strict regimen of brushing and special flossing techniques will help keep the bridge and surrounding teeth clean. This is of critical importance as the bridge relies on the neighboring teeth for support.