A bridge is a custom device anchored to neighboring teeth that replaces one or more missing teeth. When a lost tooth is replaced with bridgework, the teeth on either side of the missing one are prepared as crowns to serve as abutments to hold the prosthetic (replacement) tooth in place. Crowns and bridges are most commonly prepared from high quality materials such as semiprecious or precious metals, porcelain, or a fused combination of the two. Aesthetics, function, and tissue compatibility are considered when selecting the material most suitable for you.
With traditional bridges, also called fixed bridges, we create a pontic, or false, tooth with a dental crown on either side. We then fit the crowns over the remaining teeth to hold the false tooth in place.
In a resin bonded bridge, the pontic tooth is fused to a metal band. The metal band, in turn, is bonded to the back of the remaining teeth with white resin cement. A Cantilever bridge is recommended when there are only teeth on one side of the gap. While traditional bridges have a crown on either side of the pontic, cantilever bridges consist of two side-by-side crowns and only one is connected to the pontic.
To design a bridge, we shrink, then reshape the teeth to make room for the crowns. We then makes a mold of the teeth. This mold is then sent off to a laboratory, where the actual crowns and bridge are made.
Aesthetic crowns can also be used to improve appearance and function. Like a crown that is applied to a damaged tooth, this sort of crown should be designed for functional purposes but with a greater aesthetic appearance in mind. For best results, porcelain crowns are recommended for the translucent qualities that allow us to simulate the appearance of natural teeth. This is an important factor in both aesthetic crowns and bridges.
With proper oral hygiene, bridges can last up to ten years. However, improper or infrequent brushing and flossing, irregular dental visits, and excessive sugar and starch intake can all bring untimely damage to the bridge.