Every one 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.
Dental Bridge Options
A dental bridge is a device used to replace missing teeth. Much like it sounds, the bridge works to attach your artificial teeth to adjacent natural teeth, called abutment teeth. Bridges are either permanently attached (fixed bridges), or they can be removable (partial dentures).
Fixed bridges are applied by either placing crowns on the abutment teeth, or by bonding the artificial teeth directly to the abutment teeth. Removable partial dentures are attached to the teeth with metal clasps, or by precision attachments.
If you’re missing one or more teeth, you may already be aware of the import role each plays in the appearance of your smile and your overall oral health. Your teeth work together to perform many important daily functions, including eating and speaking. Missing teeth make it difficult to enjoy life to its fullest and should be replaced as soon as possible to ensure functionality is restored. Fixed bridges are a great way to restore dental functionality, dental health and your smile’s appearance.
What exactly is a bridge or fixed partial denture?
A bridge (fixed partial denture) fills the gap where teeth are absent. As the name implies, fixed bridges are fixed, or bonded into place by Dr. Funderburk. As such, fixed bridges offer much more stability than their removable counterparts, and are almost indistinguishable from your natural teeth. Because these bridges are fixed into place, they are a more permanent solution and can only be removed by Dr. Funderburk, or another professional dentist.
On the other hand, removable partial dentures can be taken out and cleaned. As such, removable partials are considered more an appliance than their more permanent counterpart and offer the added convenience of easy removal.
Dental Bridge FAQs
Why do I need a bridge?
If you’re missing teeth, a dental bridge can restore your mouth’s functionality and your smile’s appearance. 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.
Dental health is the most important reason for a bridge. Teeth were designed to complement each other. Unusual stresses are placed on the gums 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 teeth are used to make many of the sounds we use to speak clearly.
How is a bridge attached?
The attachment procedure usually takes two or three appointments to complete. At the first appointment Dr. Funderburk will prepare the teeth on either side of the gap by shaping the teeth to work together to support the bridge. A temporary bridge is placed to protect the teeth and enhance your smile.
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 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 its neighboring teeth for support.