BridgesFort Bragg Center For Laser & Cosmetic Dentistry
Dental Bridges Fort Bragg, California
Used to replace one or more missing teeth.
A bridge is a dental appliance that replaces one or more natural missing teeth, thereby “bridging” the space between two teeth. Fixed bridges are cemented into place onto the “abutment” teeth—the surrounding teeth on either side of the space, or “span.” Unlike removable partial dentures, bridges are not removable.
If you are missing any teeth and committed to maintaining good oral hygiene practices, you may be a good candidate for a bridge. A bridge is the most natural choice to fill the space in your mouth left by missing teeth. If left unfilled, this space can cause the surrounding teeth to drift out of position and can cause teeth and gums to become more susceptible to tooth decay and gum disease, causing further tooth loss. Bridges not only correct an altered bite and improve your chewing ability and speech, but they also safeguard your appearance by preventing the collapse of your facial features that can cause premature wrinkles and age lines.
A traditional dental bridge works by using adjacent teeth to provide support for one or more replacement teeth. We prepare these surrounding teeth (called the abutment) to each receive a dental crown. Then, we attach a false tooth (called a pontic) to fit between the crowns, and the entire restoration is bonded into position. A dental bridge is also sometimes known as a fixed partial denture because it replaces one or more teeth and is not removable.
A cantilever bridge may be used if there are teeth on only one side of the span. This involves anchoring the false tooth to one side over one or more natural, adjacent teeth. If there are no adjacent teeth to act as anchors, we may recommend an implant—a metal post that is surgically embedded into the bone and capped with a crown as an abutment. In some cases where the span is large, we may recommend a removable partial denture or even an implant-supported prosthesis.
For a traditional fixed bridge, the first appointment consists of reducing the adjacent abutment teeth that will act as anchors. Impressions are made, from which a Zirconia or metal framework, including the replacement tooth, is created. By the second appointment, the final bridge fits into place over the teeth.
The total treatment time is usually between two or four weeks, depending on the type of bridge.
With a bridge, it is more important than ever to brush, floss, and see your dentist regularly. If you do not control the buildup of food debris and plaque, your teeth and gums can become infected. This may require further treatment and potentially result in the loss of the bridge. You may also use floss threaders that help remove bacteria from hard to reach spaces. (Between the bridge and adjacent teeth and gums.)
If you maintain optimal oral hygiene care, you can expect your fixed bridge to last 8-10 years, or even longer.