Your mouth is uniquely designed for speech and chewing. The upper and lower arch work in tandem with the movements of the jaw. Teeth are a vital part of this system; when a tooth is lost, this instantly compromises the integrity of the arch.
The loss of one tooth leads to the loss of other teeth — without the full arch to provide support, teeth next to an empty space will migrate into it, loosen, and fall out as the bone also melts away below the surface.
Fortunately, several options for replacing missing teeth and restoring function exist. Of these, a dental bridge is one of the simplest.
How Bridges Work
Bridges are attached to the adjacent teeth on either side of the gap (also called abutment teeth). The frame of the bridge spans the space left open by the missing tooth or teeth, and also supports the restoration.
Fixed bridges are cemented to the abutment teeth or to. Removable bridges are attached to the abutment teeth with small metal clasps or precision attachments. Fixed bridges may also be referred to as "fixed partial dentures".
Bridges are made of gold alloys, non-precious alloys, porcelain, or a combination of those materials. Porcelain is often bonded to either precious or non-precious metal. The restoration will be porcelain so it will most accurately mimic the tooth or teeth it is replacing.
The restoration is called a pontic; one or more may be used depending on how many teeth are missing. The pontic is custom made, polished to a natural shine, and installed permanently on the bridge itself. The result is a rehabilitated arch of teeth that allows natural chewing, speech, and aesthetics to be restored.
BENEFITS OF DENTAL BRIDGES
Bridge Creation and Installation
Fitting a bridge typically requires two or three visits to our dental office in Tulsa, OK. Dr. Lebedoff will talk to you about your options and help you select either a removable or fixed bridge.
- Step 1: At your first visit, Dr. Lebedoff will take a mold of your teeth, and carefully remove a tiny portion of enamel and dentin from the abutment teeth in preparation for the bridge attachment.
- Step 2: At the lab, the bridge and restoration will be fabricated according to the mold of your teeth to ensure a good bite. Crowns for the abutment teeth may or may not be part of the design.
- Step 3: At your second visit, the bridge and attached pontic(s) will be installed; either with attachments designed to allow removal, or with cement to create a permanent piece of dental work.
- Step 4: If any adjustments need to be made, a third visit may be needed.
Your new visible tooth will feel and function just like your original tooth, while looking almost indistinguishable from your other teeth. A properly customized and installed bridge can last between 10 and 20 years (permanent bridges tend to last longer).
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