Dental bridges are fixed (non-removable) appliances that are placed in the mouth when one or more of your teeth are missing. Because there are several types of dental bridges, Dr. Mattison will discuss the most appropriate option for your particular case. The most frequently used type is the “traditional bridge” which is generally made of porcelain fused to metal. These are chosen the majority of time because they most closely resemble your natural teeth. This type of dental bridge actually consists of two crowns that are anchored to the healthy teeth (abutment teeth) and are attached to artificial (or pontic) teeth, which fills the gap created by the missing teeth.
Placing a dental bridge will require at least two visits to the dentists. During the first visit, your abutment teeth will be prepared. This involves removing a portion of tooth enamel to allow room for the appliance. As with crowns, an impression will be made and the bridge created at a dental laboratory. A temporary one will be placed to protect your exposed teeth and gums. At the second appointment, this will be removed and the actual bridge will be placed. Some adjustment may be required to achieve the proper fit. At times this requires multiple visits to ensure the integrity of the framework and bite.
Dental bridges are an effective treatment for missing teeth, but are not considered a permanent solution. Some studies have indicated that they will last approximately five to seven years, while others believe they can last as long as thirty-five years. Because your abutment teeth are covered, decay may not be visible and the only sign that a bridge may require repair will be sensitivity in your teeth or gums. At times you may feel a crack in your tooth or notice that pieces of the porcelain have come off. Because this will not be resolved on its own, if this occurs, be sure to contact us as soon as possible. We will schedule an appointment for you as soon as possible.
As with other dental appliances, the longevity of your dental bridge will be dependent upon great oral care habits. Brushing twice a day and flossing will help to prevent decay of the abutment teeth. A flossing tool may be recommended by Dr. Mattison to clean the gap between your gums and the pontic. Continuing with your regular checkups and professional cleanings along with a balanced diet high in fruits and vegetables will help to maintain great oral health.