Can't flash your best smile? At Expressions Dental Care, our family-friendly dentists in Richmond Hill can help you restore the form, function and aesthetic look of your smile with dental bridges.
A dental bridge is a dental restoration designed to replace one or more natural missing teeth, thereby "bridging" the space between two teeth. Bridges are cemented into place on the "abutment" teeth (the surrounding teeth on either side of the space that needs to be bridged).
A dental bridge typically consists of three units, a pontic (a false tooth) fused between two crowns that are cemented onto the abutment teeth. Unlike removable partial dentures, dental bridges cannot be taken out of the mouth by the patient.
Bridges not only correct an altered bite, it also improves chewing ability and speech, and also works to safeguard the appearance of your smile and face by preventing the collapse of facial features that can cause premature wrinkles and age lines.
A good candidate for a dental bridge is a person with missing teeth and committed to maintaining good oral hygiene practices.
A dental bridge is the most natural choice to fill the space in the mouth left by missing teeth. If left unfilled, this space can cause the surrounding teeth to drift out of position and can cause teeth and gums to become more susceptible to tooth decay and gum disease that can cause further tooth loss.
Besides traditional bridges, another popular design is the resin bonded or "Maryland" bridge, primarily used for front teeth. This is usually the most economical choice when the abutment teeth are healthy and don't contain large fillings. The pontic is fused to metal bands that can be bonded to the abutment teeth with a resin cement and hidden from view, reducing the amount of preparation on the adjacent teeth.
A cantilever bridge may be used if there are teeth on only one side of the span. This involves anchoring the pontic to one side over one or more natural, adjacent teeth. If there are no adjacent teeth to act as anchors, an implant is recommended. This is a metal post that is surgically embedded into the bone and capped with a crown as an abutment. In some cases where the span is large, a removable partial denture is recommended or even an implant-supported prosthesis.
For a traditional fixed bridge, the first appointment consists of the dentist reducing the adjacent abutment teeth that will act as anchors. Impressions are made, from which a metal framework, including the pontic, is created. By the second appointment, the final bridge is fitted over the teeth.
The total treatment time is usually around one week, depending on the type of bridge.
We recommend using floss to help remove bacteria from hard to reach spaces between the bridge and adjacent teeth and gums. Crowns on the bridge cover most of the exposed portion of your tooth, and decay does not affect a bridge since it is made of metal and/or porcelain. If a strong oral hygiene routine is maintained, a bridge may last for many years.