What Are Dental Bridges?
Fixed Bridges are recommended when you have a missing tooth, or teeth. Not only does a Fixed Bridge improve your smile, but it also reduces the risk of gum disease, TMJ (temporomandibular joint) disorders and the misalignment of your bite. As the name suggests a fixed bridge cannot be removed as it is cemented on to your natural or crowned teeth.
How do fixed bridges work?
The bridge is anchored by a tooth or teeth either side of your missing tooth, which are called abutment teeth. The tooth that replaces your missing tooth is called a pontic. The pontic is cemented onto the abutment teeth in order to support it. Once it is in place a fixed bridge will look as natural as your own teeth.
What material is used?
Three types of materials can be used for fixed bridges and they are:
1. Porcelain – Is usually used for front teeth, as it can be colored to suit the rest of your teeth for a more natural look.
2. Porcelain and metal bridges are stronger than porcelain by itself and they can also be colored. This material is usually used on back teeth that need more strength
3. Metal – Usually gold, can’t be colored, but they are stronger and normally have a better fit than porcelain or porcelain with metal.
What does the dentist do?
Your dentist will shape your tooth or teeth in order to make them smaller and ensure that the bridge fits properly. Then an impression will be taken of the reduced tooth or teeth. During the period of waiting for the bridge to be made, your dentist will fit you with a temporary bridge to avoid any embarrassment.
When the new bridge has been made, you will attend the dentist for your second appointment and your fixed bridge will be fitted. Your dentist may well cement it in on a temporary basis to make sure that it fits as it should. After a couple of weeks if there are no problems the fixed bridge will then be cemented in permanently.
How durable is a fixed bridge?
As long as you look after your teeth, a fixed bridge can last for between 10 and 15 years, or even a lifetime. You should make sure you go to the dentist for a regular check-up, so that any problems can be spotted and dealt with immediately.
How do I look after a fixed bridge?
Cutting down on foods that aren’t good for your teeth, such as sugar will be a big help. Dental hygiene is very important and you should clean and use a mouthwash daily and floss your teeth regularly to prevent tooth decay.
How is a fixed bridge beneficial?
You will notice an improvement in the way you eat, although you might have to eat soft foods when the bridge is first put in, but this will only last a short while. If you’re missing tooth caused you problems with your speech, you’ll also find that this will improve.
If you have a missing tooth or teeth and you would like to have a fixed bridge fitted, talk to your dentist, who can advise you about the procedure and the costs involved.