Fixed Dentistry: A Prosthodontist Explains Why You Might Need a Dental Bridge
If you are looking for a lasting solution after losing a tooth, the prosthodontist might recommend a fixed dentistry procedure such as dental bridges. If the tooth is lost or so severely broken that it cannot be repaired with a crown, a dental bridge can help restore the appearance and functions of the smile. Continue reading to know more about a dental bridge and why you might need one.
What is a dental bridge?
A dental bridge is a dental restoration that bridges the gap left by a missing tooth in the mouth. There are two main options of dental bridges available in fixed dentistry. The bridge can have a false tooth (a pontic) anchored to dental crowns placed over the adjacent teeth (abutments). Or, the dental bridge could be connected to a dental implant if there are no healthy teeth available. The pontic is held permanently in place on both sides with a metal bridge and replaces the lost tooth.
Why a patient might need a dental bridge
The reason a prosthodontist would recommend a dental bridge is if the patient has one or more missing teeth on a jaw. A dental bridge restores the appearance of the smile by replacing the lost tooth with a replacement that looks natural and aesthetically pleasing. In addition, this dental restoration can also restore or ensure proper biting, chewing and talking, while preserving bite alignment and facial structure. Placing a replacement tooth also helps prevent adjacent teeth from moving or tilting into the gap, which could disrupt teeth alignment.
If a tooth is lost in a position where no teeth are available on both sides to function as abutments for the bridge, a cantilever bridge will be used instead of a traditional bridge. With this option, the pontic is fixed on one side of the abutment tooth because there is no tooth available on the second side. It is usually used for back molars. When multiple teeth are missing, dental implants may be used as abutments, with the bridge filling the gap.
Fitting dental bridges
Dental bridges are usually completed in two office visits. In the first visit, the dentist will prepare the adjacent teeth by filing them to accommodate the dental crowns that will cover them and support the bridge. Impressions are taken so the dentist can produce a custom-fitting permanent dental bridge. In the meantime, the patient will wear a temporary bridge.
The second appointment is to fit, adjust and fix the permanent bridge. Sometimes, the dentist will first attach the bridge temporarily so they can make any necessary changes to the bite and fitting before the bridge is cemented permanently.
if you think that you might need a fixed dentistry restoration like dental bridges for a complex dental issue, it is advisable to talk to a prosthodontist. They will help you decide the best treatment approach by comparing the advantages and drawbacks of dental bridges with other restoration options. Based on the result of the consultation, the dental professional will develop a treatment plan for you.
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