A dental bridge can also be called a fixed bridge or a fixed partial denture. It is a restoration designed to replace missing teeth. Once it is placed, it is affixed securely to your teeth and is not to be removed. A bridge spans a space where one or more teeth have been lost in the dental arch. The teeth on either end of the space are crowned, and are referred to as abutments. The false teeth in a bridge that join the abutments are referred to as pontics. Crowns and bridges are most often made from superior materials such as precious metals (gold), semi-precious metals, porcelain, or a combination of metal fused to porcelain. Both esthetics (appearance) and function are considered when selecting the material most suitable for you.
Several steps are involved and two dental visits are generally needed to complete the treatment. The abutment teeth that are to be crowned are cleaned of all existing fillings and decay and then re-restored with bonded restorations called cores. These teeth are then prepared or trimmed to allow sufficient space for the bridge to fit. An impression is then made of this area and sent to a special dental lab that will fabricate the bridge. A temporary bridge will be custom made chairside for you, and you will wear the temporary until the final bridge is finished in a few weeks. Once the bridge is ready, the dentist simply removes the temporary and cements or bonds the bridge to your teeth. Minor adjustments are usually required to optimize fit and comfort.
It is very important to clean daily around the teeth that support the bridge and under the bridge itself so that food particles aren’t left under it for long periods of time. You are six times more likely to develop a cavity around a bridge than you are around a tooth with a single crown. So, continue with good, daily oral hygiene and regular examinations and professional teeth cleanings.