A traditional bridge is one method of replacing an absent or previously extracted tooth. Replacing missing teeth is highly recommended to prevent inevitable tooth and bone problems later in life. Other, more immediate, benefits of a bridge involve increased ability to chew and speak, prevention of adjacent and opposing teeth shifting from their original position, equal distribution of force when biting down, and not to mention an aesthetically pleasing smile.
Having a bridge completed involves two separate appointments spaced approximately two weeks apart. The first appointment is for the bridge preparation. Both teeth adjacent to the empty space are prepared the same way teeth are prepared for crowns. Preparation is done by removing a large portion of the outside tooth structure by filing each of the tooth’s surfaces down allowing space for the crowns (which comprise part of the bridge) to be placed over top. These crowns are joined together by a “pontic”, or fake tooth, that will occupy the empty space and function similarly to a natural tooth. The ponic is supported by the adjacent crowns rather than from underneath like a natural tooth. Because the underlying bone is no longer required for support, overtime it will begin to resorb and deteriorate which is one drawback of having a bridge. An impression of the reduced teeth will then be taken and sent to a dental laboratory where the bridge will be fabricated. The dentist will make a temporary bridge for you to wear in between your appointments; this will retain the prepared teeth ensuring a proper fit when you receive your permanent bridge.
The second appointment is for the bridge cementation. The bridge cementation is also completed similarly to that of a crown cementation. After the temporary bridge has been removed, the dentist will place the permanent bridge over the prepared teeth and proceed to check the fit and shape of the crowns. Finally, your bite will be verified to make sure it is level with opposing teeth. After all this has been completed, the bridge will be cemented in place. The bridge is secure once it has been cemented meaning you can function as you normally would immediately following your departure from our office.