There are two ways to eliminate a gap in your smile, created by a missing tooth or teeth. One way is through dental implants and the other is through a bridge.
A bridge is made up of crowns for the teeth on both sides of the gap (these two or more anchoring teeth are referred to as abutment teeth) and a false tooth or teeth to fill in the missing space. These false teeth are called pontics and dental bridges are supported by natural teeth or implants.
Why would you have a bridge done?
Bridges are primarily used to:
- Rebuild your smile
- Allow you to properly chew and speak
- Maintain the natural shape of your face/smile
- Align your bite properly by replacing missing teeth
- Prevent remaining teeth from shifting out of position
**The first four listed reasons to have a bridge done are rather self-explanatory and most often used by patients as a rationale to have the dental procedure. The last reason on the list to have a bridge done is quite often overlooked, even though it is a very important one. The teeth adjacent to the gap in your smile created by missing teeth tend to shift with time. It might look like the remaining teeth are shifting inward to close the gap. What really happens can only be seen in an X-ray, which shows what is going on below the gum line and inside the jawbone. X-rays can reveal that the root of the shifting tooth might be pressing against the root of the tooth located next to it. In accordance with the laws of physics, the more chewing that is done, the more pressure that is exerted. As a result, both roots can be damaged – which is why it’s a very good idea to consider having a bridge procedure completed.
What is the process for getting a dental bridge?
During the first dental bridge procedure visit, Dr. Sulzbach will prepare your abutment teeth. This preparation involves recontouring these teeth by removing a portion of enamel to allow room for a crown to be placed over top of them. Next, impressions of your teeth will be taken to serve as a model for the bridge, pontic(s), and crowns to be manufactured by a dental laboratory.
During the second visit of this dental procedure, Dr. Sulzbach will check and adjust the new bridge as necessary, to achieve a proper fit. Multiple visits may be required to check the fit of the metal framework and your bite. The amount of required follow-up visits is dependent on each individual’s case. The bridge may be temporarily cemented in place for a couple of weeks to ensure proper fit. After a couple of weeks, the bridge will be permanently cemented into place by your dentist.