When circumstances of tooth loss occur it is important to examine options to replace them. All of your teeth play an important role in speaking, chewing and maintaining proper alignment of other teeth. If implants are not possible, a bridge may be a consideration. As with single unit crowns, you may choose to home whiten prior to bridge treatment to achieve the highest esthetics.
What is a bridge (fixed partial denture)?
A bridge is a restoration used to replace missing teeth by attaching one or more artificial teeth, called pontics, to adjacent natural teeth, called abutments. Together, the attached units make a “bridge” across the gap where teeth are missing. It is cemented into place on the natural teeth and only a dentist can take it out.
A bridge usually takes two appointments to complete. For long span bridges, a third appointment may required. At the first visit, Dr. Brueggeman or Kopecky will prepare the abutment teeth precisely to ensure a correct bite and proper tooth contours. An impression is made to capture the detail and is sent to a dental laboratory where the bridge will be fabricated. A temporary bridge is cemented into place to hold tooth positions, check for eating ability and keep the teeth comfortable. At the second appointment, the final bridge is permanently cemented into place.
How do I take care of my bridge?
Additional steps are needed for care of the teeth supporting a bridge. If one tooth in the bridge system fails, the entire restoration must be cut off and replaced. Therefore, daily brushing, a special flossing technique and dental irrigation are needed to keep the bridge and surrounding teeth as clean and healthy as possible. These are critically important since the bridge relies on the abutment teeth for support. How long a bridge lasts depends on home care, professional care, cavity rate and dietary factors. They usually last at least 10 years but patients should expect to replace them over time.