A dental bridge is a fixed (non-removable) appliance that can be a convenient way to restore your smile when you have one or more missing teeth. The bridge gets its name because it literally “bridges the gap” between the remaining teeth.
Several types of bridges are available. Porcelain Fixed Bridges are the most popular because they closely replicate the look and feel of natural teeth. This type of bridge consists of a pontic (artificial tooth) that is fused between dental crowns applied to the teeth on either side of the gap (abutment teeth).
Unlike removable partial dentures, fixed bridges cannot be taken out of your mouth. They remain in place as you eat, speak and sleep-just like natural teeth. For this reason, some people choose to upgrade from a removable appliance to a fixed bridge.
Dental bridges are highly durable and with proper care can last more than ten years; however, they may need repair or replacement due to normal wear.
Reasons for Fixed Bridges
A fixed bridge will:
- Restore your smile by filling the gap left by missing teeth.
- Support the facial tissues for a youthful look.
- Help prevent the remaining teeth from shifting.
- Help restore the ability to chew and speak naturally.
- Remain in place as you eat, speak and sleep-just like natural teeth.
What do Fixed Bridges Involve?
Getting a bridge usually requires two visits. First, the teeth are numbed and a portion of enamel is removed from the two anchoring teeth to accommodate crowns. Next, a highly accurate impression (mold) is taken and sent to a dental laboratory. While the permanent fixed bridge is being fabricated at the laboratory (a process that takes several weeks), a temporary bridge is put in place for your comfort and protection.
During your second visit, your new custom bridge will be carefully inspected, adjusted, and precisely and permanently cemented into place. In order to allow your teeth and gums to get used to the new appliance, your dentist may choose to apply temporary cement, waiting until a subsequent visit to permanently cement the bridge in place.