A bridge, a device used to replace missing teeth, attaches replacement teeth to adjacent natural teeth, called abutment teeth.
A fixed bridge is a prosthesis which provides teeth where they are absent. Fixed bridges are bonded into place and can only be removed by a dental professional. Fixed bridges offer more stability than their removable counterparts. Removable bridges (partial dentures), as the name implies, can be taken out and cleaned.
Fixed permanent bridges are applied by either placing crowns onto prepared abutment teeth or by bonding the replacement teeth directly to unprepared abutment teeth. Removable bridges (partial dentures) are attached to adjacent teeth with metal clasps or by precision attachments.
If you are missing one or more teeth, you may be aware of their importance to your appearance and dental health. Your teeth work together for many daily functions from eating to speaking. With missing teeth, it is often difficult to function ideally. Missing teeth can and should be replaced. Fixed bridges are a well-proven way to restore your dental health and appearance.
Why do I need a fixed bridge?
Chewing efficiency, prevention of shifting teeth and appearance are important reasons for selecting a bridge. A bridge helps support your lips and cheeks. The loss of a back tooth may cause your mouth to sink and your face to look older.
Occlusal (bite) stability and dental health is the most important reason for a bridge. Teeth are designed to complement each other both functionally and aesthetically. Unusual stresses are placed on the gums and other oral tissues when teeth are missing, causing a number of potentially harmful problems. Increased risk of periodontal (gum) disease has proven to be one of the worst side effects of missing teeth and can be minimized with a bridge. In addition, increased risk for TMJ problems is often associated with missing teeth.
The fabrication of a fixed bridge usually takes 4 appointments to complete.
Your First Appointment:
- Care is taken to fully anesthetize (numb) the area being treated
- Your doctor will prepare the teeth on either side of the gap by removing a portion of the enamel and dentin.
- An impression is taken of the prepared teeth and then a stone model of your teeth is created in our on site laboratory
- The custom color shade of your future bridge is selected and temporary acrylic bridge is placed on the teeth and cemented for easy removal at your next visit.
At the Lab(1):
Careful consideration is taken by your doctor at our on site lab to prepare the models to allow for precise replication, custom size, and characteristic shape of each bridge. This step (often overlooked in standard dental practice) is a standard of excellence that is routine at Dental Health Concepts. The fabrication of the preliminary framework substructure is completed by a Certified Dental Technician. We utilize many of the finest dental laboratories for this technique, each of whose expertise complements your unique requirements. These labs, in turn, use only the highest grade materials available.
Your Second Appointment:
- The temporary bridge is removed following anesthesia.
- The bridge substructure is placed on the abutment teeth to check for ideal fit and contour of the support of the bridge.
- An new impression is taken of the substructure to capture the soft tissue (gum) contours in a healthy state allowing custom contouring of the visible porcelain.
- The temporary bridge is recemented to the teeth while new custom models are being prepared in our on site lab.
At the Lab(2):
Custom selected and shaded porcelain is added to the bridge structure to create the size, shape, and color of prosthesis to match the ideal shape of teeth in the area being rehabilitated.
Your Third and Fourth Appointment:
The unpolished porcelain-covered bridge is placed in your mouth to check the bite to assure proper force is equally applied to the bridge and that all the shape and color parameters have been ideally matched. Once completed, the bridge is returned to the lab for final polishing and the bridge is cemented into place on the abutment teeth.
We expect bridgework to replace missing teeth and function as a full complement of teeth in a designated area for many years. To insure such success, we, at Dental Health Concepts, use only the finest materials and expert technicians to complement the quality of our work. We take great pride in the utilization of our on site lab for much of the preliminary and ongoing quality control that you expect from our practice.