All of your teeth play an important role in speaking, chewing and in maintaining proper alignment of other teeth. Tooth loss doesn’t 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.
A bridge attaches artificial teeth to adjacent natural teeth, called abutment teeth. Dental bridges are either permanently attached (fixed bridges), or they can be removable. Fixed bridges are applied by either placing crowns on the abutment teeth or by bonding the artificial teeth directly to the abutment teeth. Removable bridges are attached to the teeth with metal clasps or by precision attachments.
The attachment procedure usually takes two or three appointments to complete. At the first appointment Dr. Davis will prepare the teeth on either side of the gap by removing a portion of the enamel and dentin. 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 lab where the bridge will be constructed. Fixed bridges are typically cemented to the natural teeth next to the space left by the missing tooth. A pontic (false tooth) replaces the lost tooth. Crowns, which are cemented onto the natural teeth, provide support for the bridge.
Bridges can be constructed from gold alloys, non-precious alloys, porcelain, or a combination of these materials. Porcelain is often bonded to either precious or non-precious metal. A strict regimen of brushing and flossing will keep the bridge and surrounding teeth clean. This is of critical importance as the bridge relies on the neighboring teeth for support.