Do you have missing teeth? A fixed bridge is one natural-looking replacement option you should consider. If you’ve ever wondered why replacing lost teeth is important, think of all your teeth as a string of pearls. When one “pearl” is removed, the other ones move around on the string and spacing consistency is lost.
Each tooth has a companion on each side, and is in a bite relationship with an opposing tooth. A lost tooth means that suddenly the companion teeth no longer have a partner. When the remaining teeth no longer receive the stability supported by this lost tooth; shifting occurs. The abnormally exposed areas are then prone to decay and periodontal disease. Statistics tell us when a tooth is missing, its companion tooth will be lost next. The next tooth will be subjected to the same problems and it creates a domino effect.
What is a fixed bridge?
A bridge is created when crowns are placed on either side of the missing tooth space, and a false tooth is fabricated for the void. The two anchoring teeth are called abutments, just like those on a bridge you drive over. The false tooth in the center is called a pontic (which means, “false tooth”), and can be made from gold, alloys, porcelain, or a combination of the those materials. Dental bridges are supported by natural teeth or implants.
Who should get a bridge?
If you are missing any teeth you may be a good candidate for a bridge. Fixed bridges can correct an altered bite, or maintain appearance by preventing the collapse of your facial features, which will result in premature wrinkles and age lines.
What procedures are involved?
For a traditional fixed bridge, during the first appointment I will reduce the adjacent abutment teeth that will act as anchors, impressions are made, from which a metal framework, including the pontic, is created. By the second appointment, the final bridge is fitted over the teeth.
The total treatment time is usually between two and four weeks, depending on the type of bridge.
How do I care for a bridge?
Proper cleaning and flossing under your bridge is imperative. If you do not control the buildup of food debris and plaque, the sticky film of bacteria formed from acids in foods, your teeth and gums can become infected, requiring further treatment and expense. If you maintain optimal oral hygiene care, you can expect your fixed bridge to last as many as 10-15 years, or even longer.
The modern materials used in bridges make them more beautiful and stable than ever before. Metal frameworks are swiftly being replaced with flexible materials that make the bridge invisible to others. There’s no reason to have a missing tooth, or shifting; bridges are a quick and reasonable alternative to both. Act quickly for the best results after an extraction.