All 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 in most cases they are best replaced to maintain proper function of your mouth. Fortunately, there are options for correcting tooth loss.
Dental Bridge Options
A bridge — a device used to replace missing teeth — attaches artificial teeth to adjacent natural teeth, called abutment teeth. Bridges are permanently attached.
Fixed bridges are applied by placing crowns on the abutment teeth.
What exactly is a bridge or fixed partial denture?
A bridge (fixed partial denture) is a device which fills the gap where teeth are absent. Fixed bridges are bonded into place and can only be removed by a dental professional. Removable bridges, as the name implies, can be taken out and cleaned. Fixed bridges offer more stability than their removable counterparts. Removable partial dentures are attached to the teeth by various means, but are intended to be removed daily by the patient for cleansing.
Why do I need tooth replacement?
Oral functionality and appearance are important reasons for replacing missing teeth. A bridge helps support your lips and cheeks. The loss of a back tooth may cause your face to appear sunken in.
Replacement of missing teeth is the most common 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.
How is a bridge attached?
Fabrication of a bridge usually takes two or three appointments to complete. At the first appointment the doctor will prepare the teeth on either side of the space by removing a portion of the enamel and dentin as would be done for a single crown. Since the bridge must be fabricated very precisely to ensure the correct fit to match the opposing teeth, impressions of the area are taken and sent to a lab for the bridge to be constructed. Fixed bridges are typically cemented or bonded to the natural teeth on either side of the space left by the missing tooth. The crown which fits over the supporting tooth is connected to the replacement tooth and this is cemented as one piece cement over the natural teeth on either side of the space.
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 the neighboring teeth for support.