Dr. Raimundo believes that the best teeth are your own natural teeth. However, if a tooth is badly damaged or lost a bridge is one way to replace a lost tooth. If a tooth is lost many processes occur in the mouth. First, bone is resorbed (decreased) in the region where your natural root once was. Second, teeth on either side of the missing tooth tip into the space left by your missing tooth. As well, the tooth in your opposing arch can over-erupt into the space left by your missing tooth. The placement of a bridge will ensure tooth stability as your natural tooth once did. Dr. Raimundo can help determine whether a dental bridge is suitable for replacement of your missing tooth.
If dental bridges are not for you but you would still like to replace your missing teeth, then please see our section on implants or removable partial dentures. Dental bridges are an alternative to implants and partial dentures.
What is a dental bridge?
A bridge is a permanent appliance that can replace one or more missing teeth. It is held in place by healthy teeth on either side of the missing tooth or teeth. You cannot take a bridge out.
How is a dental bridge made?
In order to fabricate a bridge the teeth on each side of the missing one are prepared for crowns. These teeth will help us bridge the gap left by the missing tooth. The false (pontic) tooth and two crowns are then custom-made in a dental lab as one unit. In order to maintain a healthy smile, you will be given temporary or provisional crowns or a temporary bridge while waiting for your bridge to come back from the lab. Bridges can be made out of metal, gold or porcelain fused to metal. Sometimes in the anterior region a bridge can be made completely out of porcelain by using materials such as zirconia and aluminia. When the bridge comes back from the lab it is cemented to the surrounding teeth of each side of the gap as shown on the image to the right.
Who is a candidate for bridges?
If you have one or more missing teeth you may be a candidate for a dental bridge. However, factors such as the root structure of your remaining abutment teeth and amount of filling material on these teeth play an important role in whether you are a candidate for a bridge. In addition to the condition of the teeth present, proper oral hygiene will also determine the success of the dental bridge. Most bridges last eight to ten years, if you take good care of it.