A great way to replace missing teeth.
- A missing tooth or teeth
- Potential bite and jaw joint problems from teeth shifting to fill the space
- The “sunken face” look associated with missing teeth
- Desire to improve chewing ability
- Desire for a more permanent solution than dentures
A bridge is a single appliance that is generally attached to two teeth on each side of the space where a tooth is missing. An artificial tooth attached in the middle of the bridge fills in the gap where the missing tooth was. The teeth on either side of the gap are prepared for crowns (see crowns) and a highly accurate impression or mold is made of the prepared area. This mold is used to create a gold or porcelain (tooth colored) bridge in a special laboratory. The bridge is then cemented onto the prepared surface of the teeth, effectively creating the appearance of a “new” tooth.
Unlike dentures, a fixed bridge is never removed. It is stable in the mouth and works very similar to natural teeth. By filling the gap and stopping the movement of other teeth, a fixed bridge is an excellent investment, providing better chewing ability, heading off jaw joint problems and saving money that might otherwise be spent on future dental treatment.
Fixed bridges are excellent restorations but they do have a few disadvantages. If the two teeth on either side of the missing tooth space do not have restorations, they will need to be reduced in size during the preparation of the teeth, which can weaken the teeth. Additionally, fixed bridges require specific instruments such as floss threaders and brushes for proper home care. They are highly durable, but they may eventually need to be re-cemented or replaced due to normal wear.
In the event that the use of a fixed bridge is not feasible, the best alternative is a dental implant. A removable partial denture may also be an option.
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