A bridge (or partial denture) is a custom-made replacement for one or more missing teeth that literally "bridges the gap." Artificial teeth are attached to gum-colored plastic bases. The bases are attached to a framework supported by abutments.
There are two types of bridges: removable and fixed. Both can be constructed from gold alloys, non-precious alloys, porcelain, or a combination of materials. Porcelain bridges are often bonded to precious or non-precious metal.
Typically, two office visits are required to prepare, complete, and fit a permanent bridge.
Visit your Dentist if you have one or more missing teeth and experience any of these symptoms:
• A noticeable difference in your ability to speak or chew
• A change in the shape of your face or the self-confidence of your smile
Left untreated, missing teeth will:
• Produce an unstable bite and dental stress that can damage teeth and gums or cause headaches
• Increase your risk for periodontal disease and tooth decay
A bridge is often prescribed:
• When one or more teeth are missing and there are healthy teeth on both sides of the gap
• As part of a dental restoration plan after the removal of damaged, decayed, or broken teeth
Whether removable or fixed, a bridge is anchored in place by abutments.
A removable bridge is detached by its wearer for daily cleaning and at bedtime. It is prescribed when:
• Teeth adjacent to the gap are weak
• There are multiple missing teeth
•There are no posterior teeth to provide an anchor for the bridge
A fixed bridge provides greater stability than a removable bridge because it is permanently anchored to abutments by use of bonding or a crown. Only a Dentist or Specialist can remove it.
Fixed bridges must be cleaned daily using dental floss and a specially made aid.
After a thorough exam of your teeth, gums and supporting bone structure, your Dentist will discuss treatment options and answer your questions. If the agreed-upon treatment is a dental bridge, here's what to expect:
• A local anesthetic is applied so your Dentist can prepare the abutments. If an abutment tooth is decayed or broken, your Dentist may first need to rebuild and protect it with a crown.
• A putty-like material is used to make an impression of your prepared teeth. Your bridge will be fabricated for a precise fit based on this impression.
• To protect your teeth and gums until your permanent bridge is ready, your Dentist will fit you with a temporary bridge.
• During a second office visit, your Dentist will fit and attach your permanent bridge.