If you have been exploring options for replacing a missing tooth, you’ve probably been given the options of a partial denture, implant or a bridge. If you are skeptical about getting used to wearing partial dentures and do not wish to invest in implants, then a bridge may be your best option for filling the empty space.
A dental bridge is used to bridge the gap created by missing teeth. A bridge uses adjacent natural teeth to attach a false tooth, called a pontic, which replaces your missing tooth. The pontic attaches to crowns which are placed on your natural teeth on either side of the empty space. When the false tooth is secured to the adjacent healthy teeth via crowns, the bridge becomes a long-lasting solution to missing teeth.
Dr. James typically recommends implants over doing a bridge as implants are easier to clean and typically last much longer. However, there are a few situations in which a bridge becomes a great option.
1) Cost – If the investment of an implant is too much, then a bridge becomes the next best alternative.
2) If the adjacent teeth are carious – Placing a bridge requires preparing the teeth adjacent to the empty space for crowns. If those adjacent teeth already need fillings or crowns themselves, simply adding a tooth to that empty space becomes an easy way to fix 2 problems at once.
3) Medical conditions – If a patient’s medical history is such that surgical procedures are contraindicated, placing a bridge is a great non-surgical solution for tooth replacement.
During the first visit, Dr. James will prepare the teeth adjacent to the missing tooth, or teeth, for crowns. Then an impression of the mouth is taken. That impression is sent to a dental lab for fabrication of the bridge. Prior to leaving the office, a temporary bridge is made and temporarily cemented. At the second visit, the temporary bridge is removed, and the permanent bridge is cemented.
There is no time limit to how long a bridge will last. As long as you are brushing and flossing underneath and around the bridge, it will have a long, healthy lifespan.
Yes! Since the false tooth is connected to the adjacent teeth, you will not be able to floss the same way you floss your other teeth. You will need to use either Super-floss or floss threaders to clean underneath the bridge. Dr. James and her team at Trinity Dental Loft are happy to show you how to clean your dental bridge to make sure that it lasts as long as possible!