Your remaining teeth can be seriously affected by having a gap from a missing tooth. Over time your teeth may shift, moving out of their sockets to fill the space. This can cause discomfort, difficulty chewing, speaking and have a negative effect on your appearance. Dental bridges fill the gap and help keep your permanent teeth in place.
You may be a candidate for a dental bridge if you have one or more missing teeth surrounded by healthy or easily treatable teeth. Children who do not yet have their permanent teeth, and individuals whose gap is surrounded by seriously unhealthy or decaying teeth, do not make good candidates for dental bridges.
There are several different types of dental bridges that can be used to repair your smile. Your dentist will perform an examination and discuss which option will be best for you based upon a number of factors. The most common choice is known as a traditional bridge and it is made from naturally-colored porcelain fused to metal, with two crowns to fit over anchoring teeth on either side of the bridge.
Having a dental bridge made and installed usually requires two or more office visits. During the first visit, your dentist will make certain that the teeth around the area of the bridge are healthy and strong. A build-up agent may be applied to strengthen the anchoring teeth. If strengthening isn’t needed, your dentist will apply an anesthetic to numb your teeth, and the two anchoring teeth will have a portion of the enamel removed to make room for the crown. Next, a mold of the area where the bridge will be placed is made. This will be used to make a temporary bridge, and then it is sent off to a dental laboratory where your permanent bridge will be made.
During your second visit, the permanent bridge will be checked and adjusted to ensure proper fit before being cemented. In some cases, your dentist may apply a temporary dental cement in order to allow you time to adjust to the new bridge, applying the permanent cement at a later visit. Once the procedure is complete, you’ll receive important care instructions to ensure your dental health and ensure your bridgework lasts as long as possible.