A dental bridge is a custom-made prosthesis used to “bridge” a gap left by one or more missing teeth. A bridge is comprised of crowns, the visible portion made to look like teeth, on either side of the empty space, plus one or more false teeth in between. The bridge can be removable or permanently bonded to the surrounding teeth. Removable bridges are held in place by connectors attached to the neighboring teeth on both sides. Bridges are most often made of either porcelain fused to metal or ceramic. Porcelain and ceramic crowns can be tinted to match the color of your natural teeth. Bridges are not purely cosmetic fixes, gaps left by missing teeth can cause several oral health issues including misalignment from the remaining teeth shifting to fill the empty space.
During the patient's first visit, the neighboring teeth are prepared for their crowns by shaving down a portion of tooth’s surface to create enough space. Impressions of the gap and adjacent teeth are obtained and the false teeth, bridging pieces, and crowns are ordered from a dental lab. Dr. Awad will provide a temporary bridge to protect the exposed teeth and gums while waiting for the permanent bridge. During the final visit, the temporary bridge is taken off and the permanent bridge secured. If needed, adjustments can be made to ensure it fits properly.
Removable bridges are generally easier to care for than attached bridges, which have attachments that must be carefully cleaned around. However, with a little practice and guidance from the dental hygienist, permanent bridges can be kept clean between dentist visits. With the proper care, a bridge can last for more than a decade.
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