Fixed Permanent Bridges
All of your teeth play an important role in speaking, chewing, and in maintaining proper alignment of other teeth. Tooth loss does not necessarily have to occur as you age. But if you do lose teeth, they must be replaced to maintain proper function of your mouth. Fortunately, there are options for correcting tooth loss.
Dental Bridge Options
A fixed bridge is a device used to replace missing teeth and attaches artificial teeth to adjacent natural teeth, called abutment teeth. Fixed bridges are permanently placed by the prosthodontist and cannot be removed without destroying the restoration or damaging the abutment teeth.
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 difficult to do these things. Missing teeth can and should be replaced. Fixed bridges are a successful and traditional way to restore your dental health and appearance.
What exactly is a fixed bridge?
A fixed bridge (fixed partial denture) is a device that fills the gap where teeth are absent. Fixed bridges are permanently placed and can only be removed by a dental professional at the risk of damaging the restoration or abutment teeth.
Why do I need a bridge?
Dental health is the most important reason for a bridge. Teeth were designed to complement each other. Unusual stresses are placed on the gums and other tooth supporting oral tissues when teeth are missing, causing a number of potentially harmful disorders.
Increased risk of loss of supporting bone of the teeth adjacent to the missing tooth area has proven to be one of the worst side effects of missing teeth. Because of the added stress placed on those teeth and their potential for tipping and movement into the lost tooth space, additional teeth can be severely affected by loss of adjacent or occluding teeth.
How is a bridge made?
The fabrication procedure usually takes two or three appointments to complete. At the first appointment, Dr. Fischer will prepare the teeth on either side of the gap by removing a portion of the enamel and dentin to a specific design.
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 dental laboratory where skilled technicians will create the restoration according to precise instructions given them by Dr. Fischer.
Fixed bridges are typically cemented to the natural abutment teeth adjacent to the space left by the missing tooth. A pontic (false tooth) replaces the lost tooth. Crowns, or bridge retainers, which are cemented onto the natural teeth, provide support for the bridge thus creating a single multiple tooth restoration composed of retainer crowns which affix the restoration to the healthy natural teeth and the pontic(s) which replace the missing tooth or teeth.
What materials are used?
Bridges can be constructed from gold alloys, non-precious metal alloys, all porcelain, or a combination of these materials. Traditionally, porcelain is fused to either a precious or non-precious metal frame providing a strong and esthetic restoration. Recent material innovations have made strong all ceramic fixed bridges a reliable option for demanding esthetic uses though they still may not be appropriate for all situations.
How do I take care of my bridge?
A strict regimen of brushing and flossing will keep the bridge and surrounding teeth clean. Routine periodic cleaning and examination at the dental office is highly recommended for proper maintenance and evaluation of the status of the restoration and the supporting teeth with dental x-rays. This is of critical importance as the bridge relies on the neighboring teeth for support.