All teeth are responsible for performing many different tasks, including speaking, chewing and keeping your smile aligned. While tooth loss can occur once you reach a certain age, that doesn’t mean you should accept that fact. If you lose teeth, you need to replace them to ensure the long-term functions of the tasks that you rely on. Dental bridges are one of the most common tooth repalcement options in dentistry today.
Dental bridges are restorations designed to replace missing teeth via a series of crowns. These crowns are fused together to create one larger restoration and fit on top of natural teeth. If the bridge is permanently attached to teeth, it’s referred to as a fixed bridge.
Fixed bridges are placed in two ways. The first is via crowns which attach to supporting or abutment teeth, or by directly bonding the restoration to the abutment teeth.
Missing multiple or even just one tooth can dramatically affect your appearance as well as your dental health. Teeth are designed to support many functions, including speaking and eating. If your teeth are missing, then these basic tasks become incredibly difficult to perform. If teeth are not replaced, you may experience a higher rate of cavities, fractured teeth, and even bone loss due to load redistribution. A fixed bridge is one of the best ways to prevent these long-term complications and restore your dental health and appearance.
Dental bridges are the same as fixed partial dentures. They work to replace one to two teeth at a time and are not intended to be removable. This is because they are bonded into place, therefore offering a much more stable restoration compared to removable dentures. Bridges should only be removed by dental professionals.
Bridges offer a two-pronged solution to tooth loss. First, they improve your oral functionality. Second, they help you maintain your appearance. They also work to support neighboring oral structures, such as the lips and cheeks. For example, losing a back tooth results in a sinking mouth and premature aging.
With that said, dental health is the highest priority and the most important reason for replacing teeth. Teeth are intended to work together, and tooth loss puts too much stress on remaining teeth and nearby oral tissue. This can lead to a number of harmful disorders.
Additionally, tooth loss can increase your risk of gum disease. In fact, it’s noted to be one of the worst side effects of missing teeth.
If you haven’t had difficulty speaking in the past, tooth loss can also increase your risk of developing a speech disorder.
Overall, dental bridges take about two to three visits to our dental office to complete. Dr. Kalluri will prepare your abutment teeth during the first appointment. In order to keep your bite correct and aligned, the bridge needs to be fabricated as precisely as possible. Ensuring this process goes well also helps us confirm that your bridge matches opposing teeth. To do this, we capture detailed impressions of your prepared teeth.
In most cases, fixed bridges are bonded to natural teeth adjacent to the empty space left from your extracted teeth. Pontics, or false teeth, fill the gap, while the dental crowns cemented onto the neighboring teeth provide the necessary support to the bridge.
Bridges can be made from a multitude of dental materials, including metal alloys, gold, porcelain, or a combination of the three. In some cases, porcelain is bonded directly to gold or alloy.
Maintaining your bridge requires dedicated brushing and flossing of your restoration and neighboring teeth daily. Since the bridge relies on neighboring teeth, decaying teeth can make it impossible for the bridge to remain stable. Cleaning the restoration via floss picks, threaders, water picks or other products can make removing accumulated plaque easier.