A bridge is a fixed dental restoration (a fixed dental prosthesis) used to replace one or more missing tooth by joining an artificial tooth definitively to adjacent teeth or dental implants.
A bridge will span the area where teeth are missing. They are attached to the natural teeth or implants that surround this space. The natural teeth or implants which support the bridge are called abutments. Depending on the type of bridge, natural abutment teeth may be reduced in size to accommodate the bridge to fit over them. An impression will be taken of the abutment tooth or implant and space to provide a mould to create the bridge. Using this, the bridge is then fabricated in a dental laboratory.
A bridge is made up of two or more crowns for the teeth on either side of the gap — these two or more anchoring teeth are called abutment teeth — and a false tooth/teeth in between. These false teeth are called pontics and can be made from gold, alloys, porcelain, or a combination of these materials. Dental bridges are supported by natural teeth or implants.
What Are the Benefits of Dental Bridges?
- Restore your smile
- Restore the ability to properly chew and speak
- Maintain the shape of your face
- Distribute the forces in your bite properly by replacing missing teeth
- Prevent remaining teeth from drifting out of position
What Is the Process for Getting a Dental Bridge?
During the first visit for getting a dental bridge, the abutment teeth are prepared. Preparation involves recontouring these teeth by removing a portion of enamel to allow room for a crown to be placed over them. Next, impressions of the teeth are made, which serve as a model from which the bridge, pontic, and crowns will be made by a dental lab. Your dentist will make a temporary bridge to wear to protect the exposed teeth and gums while the bridge is being made.
During the second visit, your temporary bridge will be removed and the new porcelain or metal bridge will be checked and adjusted, as necessary, to achieve a proper fit. Multiple visits may be required to check the fit of the metal framework and bite. This is dependent on each individual’s case. If the dental bridge is a fixed bridge, your dentist may temporarily cement it in place for a couple of weeks to make sure it is fitting properly. After a couple weeks, the bridge is cemented into place.
How Long Do Dental Bridges Last?
Dental bridges can last five to 15 years and even longer. With good oral hygiene and regular checkups, it is not unusual for the life span of a fixed bridge to be over 10 years.
Will the Dental Bridge Change How I Speak?
It can be difficult to speak clearly when teeth are missing. Wearing a dental bridge with the anterior teeth in their proper relationship will help you speak properly.