Dental Bridges

All of your teeth play an important role in speaking, chewing and maintaining proper alignment of other teeth. Tooth loss doesn’t necessarily have to occur as you age, but if you do lose teeth they must be replaced to maintain proper function of your mouth. Fortunately, there are options for correcting tooth loss.

Dental Bridge Options

A dental bridge — a device used to replace missing teeth — attaches artificial teeth to adjacent natural teeth, called abutment teeth. Bridges are either permanently attached (fixed bridges), or they can be removable.

Fixed bridges are applied by placing crowns on the abutment teeth and connecting them to the artificial tooth. They are cemented into place and can only be removed by a dental professional.

Removable bridges are attached to the abutment teeth with metal clasps or attachments. As the name implies, they can be taken out and cleaned. Fixed bridges offer more stability than their removable counterparts.

Why do I need a dental bridge?

Oral functionality and appearance are important reasons for wearing a bridge. A bridge helps support your lips and cheeks. The loss of a back tooth may cause your mouth to sink and your face to look older.

Dental health is the most important reason for a bridge. Teeth were designed to complement each other and share the stresses of daily chewing and function. Additional stresses are placed on the gums and other oral tissues when teeth are missing, causing a number of potentially harmful disorders.

Increased risk of gum disease has proven to be one of the worst side effects of missing teeth and can be minimized with a bridge.

Missing teeth can cause speech disorders as they are used to make many of the sounds we use to speak clearly.

How is a dental bridge attached?

The bridge process usually takes two or three appointments to complete. At the first appointment Dr. Woo, Dr. Balcom, Dr. Crippen, Dr. Brewer or Dr. Vaid will prepare the teeth on either side of the gap by removing a portion of the enamel and dentin.

Since the bridge must be fabricated very precisely to ensure correct bite and to match the opposing tooth, impressions of the teeth are taken and sent to a lab where the bridge will be constructed.

Fixed bridges are typically cemented to the natural teeth next to the space left by the missing tooth. A pontic (false tooth) replaces the lost tooth. Dental crowns, which are cemented onto the natural teeth, provide support for the bridge.

What materials are used for dental bridges?

Bridges can be constructed from gold alloys, porcelain or a combination of these materials. 

How do I take care of my bridge?

A strict regimen of brushing and flossing will keep the bridge and surrounding teeth clean. This is of critical importance as the bridge relies on the neighboring teeth for support.