One option that our dentist may suggest for replacement of one or more missing teeth is a fixed dental bridge. A fixed bridge is also known as a fixed partial denture. Once the fixed bridge is placed, it cannot be removed except by your dental professional.
What are fixed bridges? Fixed bridges are dental restorations consisting of dummy teeth called pontics that fill in (or bridges) the gaps where one or more teeth are missing. This bridge is permanently attached to adjacent teeth or dental implants.
Your dentist will want to ensure that the all the teeth in the bridge line up correctly and make proper contact with opposing teeth. First, the teeth that are adjacent to the fixed bridge will be filed down and reshaped. These teeth will be crowned and will become the “abutments” to which the fixed bridge is attached. If more than three teeth in a row are missing, dental implants may be used as the “abutments” for the bridge, unless a removable partial denture proves to be more suitable.
After the teeth on either side of the gap are prepared, an impression is taken from which the bridge will be fashioned. The crowns made for the adjacent teeth will be joined to one or more artificial teeth (pontics), which will replace those that are missing. Once the bridge has been completed, the dentist will cement the bridge over the prepared teeth. On certain occasions, temporary cement may be used at first to make sure the bridge fits correctly – especially for bridges replacing 5 or more teeth. If the patient and dentist are satisfied with the look and fit of the fixed bridge, it will then be permanently cemented into place.
Materials used to make dental bridges may include metal (such as gold), porcelain fused to metal, or, in certain instances, porcelain alone.
Once the fixed bridge has been cemented into place, you might experience some sensitivity to hot or cold temperatures. This is normal, but is usually only temporary.
A fixed bridge is one of the best ways to replace missing teeth. You should be able to eat and talk as comfortably with a fixed bridge as you could with your natural teeth.
With proper attention, your fixed dental bridge can last as long as ten years. Just as you would take good care of your natural teeth, you should practice good oral hygiene with your bridge. Brush and floss daily, taking time to clean thoroughly around this restoration, and visit your dentist as recommended for checkups and professional cleanings.