Dental Bridges

Bridges are made to literally 'bridge' the space created by one or more missing teeth. A bridge is made up of two or more crown units for the teeth on either side of the space or spaces. The bridge is supported by natural teeth or dental implants. The two or more anchoring teeth are called ‘abutments’ or ‘retainer’ teeth. In between these abutments, where the missing tooth space is, a false tooth (or sometimes teeth) is connected. These false teeth are called pontics.

What is a bridge made of?
A bridge is usually porcelain fused to metal which means porcelain on the outside and metal on the inside. The internal metal is most usually made of a noble metal (primarily silver) but can sometimes be made of a base metal (primarily nickel) or a high noble metal (primarily gold).

Different Types of Bridges

  • Traditional fixed bridge - This is the most common type of dental bridge, in which porcelain crowns are placed over the two surrounding teeth and used as anchors to hold the false tooth in place. The false tooth is usually made of either porcelain fused to metal or ceramics.
  • Cantilever bridge - A cantilever bridge is used when teeth are present on only one side of the gap. These are used typically in areas of your mouth that doesn’t experience an intense chewing load, such as your front teeth.
  • Resin-bonded bridge - In a resin-bonded bridge, metal bands are bonded to the surrounding teeth with resin and used to hold a plastic false tooth in place. This type of bridge is typically used in areas of the mouth that undergo less stress, such as the front teeth.

What Is the Process for Getting a Dental Bridge?
The first visit for getting a bridge involves the abutment teeth which are the teeth surrounding the space to be 'prepared'. When the dentist prepares the teeth, he will remove portions of the teeth to allow space for a bridge to be placed over them. Impressions will be taken of the teeth so that the dental laboratory can have a model to precisely fabricate your bridge. Your dentist or dental assistant will then fabricate a temporary bridge for you to wear until your new bridge is completed and ready to be cemented in place.

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.

How do I care for my new bridge?
The success and longevity of your bridge depends if you keep your remaining teeth healthy, which involves cleaning underneath the bridge. There are many useful tools to help you keep your bridge clean. The dentist will recommend  Brushing twice a day and flossing daily under the bridge with a floss threader or 'super floss' in conjunction with using a waterpik to flush out any left over debris. Your dentist or dental hygienist can demonstrate how to properly brush and floss to keep the teeth supporting your bridge strong and healthy. After bridge placement it is important to see your dentist and hygienist regularly to help diagnose any problems you may have at an early stage. A low sugar, balanced diet for proper nutrition is also advisable.

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