What Is a Dental Bridge?
A dental bridge is series of porcelain (or porcelain fused to metal crowns) and pontics made by a laboratory. They can either cover the existing anchoring teeth or fill up the spaces of missing teeth and give the illusion of having teeth emerging from the gingiva, or gum line. These are called the pontics which are not hollowed out and are filled in and made to close and fill up the empty spaces of the missing teeth. Bridges can address as little as one missing tooth, or the majority of the teeth in a dental arch.
How Are Bridges Anchored in Place?
There are implant retained bridges that use the implants as the anchor of the bridge, or tooth retained bridges that use the teeth as the anchor for the bridge.
Who Needs Dental Bridges?
When there are several teeth missing and the patient would like to explore their options to find out what is the best and most highly sought after standard of care, dentures or removable appliances are not on the top of the list due to difficulty in use and appliance retention in the mouth.
There are cases such as old age or medically complex patients where dentures may be the only possible option to restore the missing teeth and give the patient some sort of chewing functionality back. That may only be addressed by fabricating dentures. In the cases where a patient has sound bone structure around the teeth and no complicated health issues, the fixed prosthetics such as implant or teeth retained bridges, are the best choice of treatment that will give the patient the closest possibility of functionality back, mimicking their natural teeth.
What Is the Process to Get a Bridge?
The process can vary depending on each patient’s unique situation. If there is a missing space that needs to get restored, the second visit will be the bridge preparation and impression visit. This visit will include preparing the teeth around the empty space by removing a thin layer of the teeth which will be made up for in the thickness of the bridge in order to maintain the patient’s bite and relationship with the rest of the teeth in the mouth. This is followed by a regular or 3D digital impression to capture all the details and relationships of the missing teeth and teeth around it in both dental arches. The last step is to customize a temporary dental bridge and glue it in so the patient can function in the days prior to receiving the permanent bridge from the laboratory.
If there is a need to extract teeth or replace them with implants, there are several weeks or even months in between that may be required for the thorough healing of the extraction site or the implant site which is then followed by the above impression steps and, finally, delivering the bridge.
What Are the Benefits of Dental Bridges?
Dental bridges are much more lifelike and natural looking since they are fabricated with porcelain and will perform much closer to the natural teeth level compared to removable prosthesis such as full or partial dentures.
If you think a dental bridge might be the right step for you, contact us today. At Buckhead Cosmetic & Family Dentistry, we are committed to working with our patients to safeguard their smiles, and we look forward to working with you.