Did you have to have a tooth extracted, and now have a gap between two teeth? You’re not alone; the American Dental Association reported that the average American between ages 20-64 has three decayed or missing teeth. The two most common ways to restore a gap between teeth are Dental Implants or Bridges. Today’s blog will focus on benefits of a dental bridge. A dental bridge is a fixed prosthetic that is cemented to existing teeth surrounding the space where the tooth was extracted. It is made up of three or more crowns. The natural teeth on either side of the gap will be prepped for crowns. These crowns are called abutment crowns and the false tooth in between is called a pontic. The abutment crowns are the anchor teeth for the bridge and connect to the pontic crown. Bridges can be made from gold, porcelain, alloy metals, or a combination of all three materials.
Dental Bridges are beneficial in many ways:
Restore your smile
Allow you to chew
Allow you to speak properly
Maintain your facial structure
Prevent other teeth from shifting or super-erupting
What is the process?
During the first visit the abutment teeth will be prepped. This is done by removing a small portion of the enamel and recontouring the tooth to allow for a crown to be placed on top. Then an impression will be taken to be used as a model from which the bridge will be made at the lab. Once the final impression is done a temporary bridge will be made for you to wear. This temporary bridge protects your teeth and gums while your bridge is being made. The second visit is about 2-3 weeks later. This visit is a shorter visit where we remove the temporary bridge, and cement the final permanent bridge. This process is a general idea as each individual case is different.
Dental bridges are a great option not only for restoring a gap but can also be used to improve a tooth’s appearance and shape. Bridges can last anywhere from 5 -15 years and even up to a lifetime. The life of a bridge depends on the patient and how well they maintain their oral cavity. So, if you have missing teeth take action and discuss the option of a bridge or implant with your dentist. Next week’s blog will focus on the benefits of an implant!
Below images are not real teeth. Model used to show the two stages of a bridge.