Fixed Dental Bridges
A dental bridge is a type of fixed partial denture designed to replace one, two, or up to three adjacent missing teeth. The replacement teeth are designed to mimic the healthy teeth you’ve lost, and are supported by dental crowns attached to the teeth on either side of the gap. These teeth (known as abutment teeth) must be modified to support the crowns, and therefore must be healthy and free of tooth decay and other dental health issues.
What to Expect from Dental Bridges
- Besides the pattern of your tooth loss, qualifying for a dental bridge also depends on the state of your oral health. During an initial examination, Dr. Correa will ensure that the rest of your teeth are strong and healthy, and that your gums are free of gingivitis and gum disease.
- If a dental bridge is the right solution, then the empty space in your smile must be measured and the abutment teeth prepared. Preparation will involve gently sculpting a small amount of each tooth’s structure so they can comfortably accommodate the bridge’s supportive dental crowns.
- Patients often opt for porcelain bridgework for a more natural, lifelike appearance. Once your porcelain bridge is in place, it will be virtually indistinguishable from the rest of your beautiful, healthy teeth.
- Dr. Correa may recommend supporting your fixed dental bridge on one or more dental implants, rather than relying on your remaining healthy teeth. Dental implants are root-like prosthetics that are surgically-inserted into the jawbone, and can be used to more effectively secure your dental bridge.
Is a Bridge the Same as a Removable Partial Denture?
Like a dental bridge, removable partial dentures are designed to replace multiple lost teeth. The difference, however, is that a partial denture can replace more than three teeth, as well as several teeth that are not next to each other. Also, partial dentures are most-often removable, unlike a dental bridge that is permanently affixed to its abutment teeth.
What If an Abutment Tooth Becomes Damaged or Infected?
Though sturdy and durable, a dental bridge relies on the support of strong, healthy natural teeth. If the abutment teeth that support the bridge become damaged or infected with tooth decay, then they will have to be restored immediately to maintain the integrity of your dental prosthesis. In severe cases where one or both abutment teeth are lost, Dr. Correa may remove the bridge and replace it with a larger one, or with a removable partial denture, depending on your specific needs.