A dental bridge is a fixed (non-removable) appliance and is an excellent way to replace missing teeth.
There are several types of bridges. You and your dentist will discuss the best options for your particular case. The “traditional bridge” is the most popular type and is usually made of porcelain fused to metal. This type of bridge consists of two crowns that go over two anchoring teeth (abutment teeth) and are attached to pontics (artificial teeth), filling the gap created by one or more missing teeth.
Dental bridges are highly durable and will last many years, however they may need replacement or need to be re-cemented due to normal wear.
Reasons for a Fixed Bridge
- Fill space of missing teeth.
- Maintain facial shape.
- Prevent remaining teeth from drifting out of position.
- Restore chewing and speaking ability.
- Restore your smile.
- Upgrade from a removable partial denture to a permanent dental appliance.
What Does Getting a Fixed Bridge Involve?
Getting a bridge usually requires two or more visits.
During your first appointment, while the teeth are numb, the two anchoring teeth are prepared by removing a portion of enamel to allow for a crown. Next, a highly accurate impression (mold) is made, which will be sent to a dental laboratory where the bridge will be fabricated. In addition, a temporary bridge will be made and worn for several weeks until your next appointment.
Depending on the case, we may use the CEREC CAD/CAM technology to fabricate your bridge. If you would like to learn more about this, click here.
At the second visit, your permanent bridge will be carefully checked, adjusted, and cemented to achieve a proper fit. Occasionally, your dentist may only temporarily cement the bridge, allowing your teeth and tissue time to get used to the new bridge. The new bridge will be permanently cemented at a later time.
Please note that it is imperative for the permanent restoration to be placed in a timely manner. Temporaries are not designed to be in for extended periods and break down over time. This leads to multiple issues including recurrent decay, the need for a root canal, and/or root canals failing and needing re-treatment. If temporaries remain in too long, they become detrimental to the gum tissue, causing recession. The restoration that was fabricated may no longer fit, requiring new impressions and a new restoration, resulting in an additional expense.
What to Expect After Each Appointment
You may experience some hot, cold, and pressure sensitivity. Your gums may also be sore for several days. If anesthetic was used during your appointment, your lips, teeth, and tongue may be numb for several hours. Avoid chewing until the numbness has completely worn off.
General Instructions While the Temporary Bridge Is in Place
- DO eat only regular soft foods (i.e. rice, meat in small pieces).
- AVOID eating sticky foods (especially gum) and hard or crunchy foods (i.e. nuts, chips, popcorn, and ice).
- IF POSSIBLE, chew only on the opposite side of your mouth.
- DO brush normally.
- DO floss, but very carefully, removing the floss from the side, to prevent removal of the temporary bridge.
- KEEP the temporary in place to ensure the proper fit of your final restoration. If the temporary comes off for some reason, keep it and call the office as soon as possible so we can re-cement it. If you cannot come into the office right away, you may use a small amount of Fixodent or Vaseline to hold the crown/bridge in place temporarily.
When Should You Notify the Doctor?
- If you have persistent pain.
- If the temporary bridge comes off.
- If bite is uneven.
- If you have an allergic reaction to medications such as:
- Skin rash.
- Elevated temperature.
- Increased and/or erratic heart rate.
- Blurred vision.
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