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Dental Bridges

 

All of your teeth play an important role in speaking, chewing and in maintaining proper alignment of other teeth. Tooth loss doesn't necessarily have to occur as you age, but if you do lose teeth, they must be replaced to maintain proper function of your mouth. Dental bridges provide an option for correcting tooth loss.

Dental Bridge Options

A dental bridge is a device used to replace missing teeth. It attaches artificial teeth to adjacent natural teeth, called abutment teeth. Bridges are either permanently attached (fixed bridges) or removable.

 

Fixed bridges are applied by either placing crowns on the abutment teeth or by bonding the artificial teeth directly to the abutment teeth. Removable bridges are attached to the teeth with metal clasps or by precision attachments.

 

Q. Why do I need a bridge?


A. While esthetics are important, the most important reason for a bridge is to promote dental health. Teeth were designed to complement each other. Unusual stresses are placed on the gums and other oral tissues when teeth are missing, causing a number of potentially harmful disorders.

 

Increased risk of gum disease has proven to be one of the worst side effects of missing teeth. The risk of gum disease can be minimized with a bridge.

 

Missing teeth can cause speech disorders as they are used to make many of the sounds we use to speak clearly. Finally, many patients find that appearance is a reason for wearing a bridge. A bright smile is a confidence-builder, but a bridge also helps support your lips and cheeks. The loss of a back tooth may cause your mouth to sink and your face to appear aged.

 

Q. How is a bridge attached?


A. The attachment procedure usually takes two or three appointments to complete. At the first appointment, Dr. Weimar will prepare the teeth on either side of the gap by removing a portion of the enamel and dentin.

 

Since the bridge must be fabricated very precisely to ensure correct bite and to match the opposing tooth, impressions of the teeth are taken and sent to a lab where the bridge will be constructed.

 

Fixed bridges are typically cemented to the natural teeth next to the space left by the missing tooth. A pontic (false tooth) replaces the lost tooth. Crowns, which are cemented onto the natural teeth, provide support for the bridge.

 

Q. What materials are used?


A. Bridges can be constructed from gold alloys, non-precious alloys, porcelain or a combination of these materials. Porcelain is often bonded to either precious or non-precious metal.

 

Q. How do I take care of my bridge?


A. A strict regimen of brushing and flossing will keep the bridge and surrounding teeth clean. This is of critical importance, as the bridge relies on the neighboring teeth for support.

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