Missing teeth are more than an embarrassing appearance issue — they can have a tremendous impact on your oral health. Don’t think a missing tooth is “no big deal” and not worth the time and effort to get it fixed. What should you do about a missing tooth? There are several treatment options available, and one solution we offer at Sehnert Precision Dental is the fixed bridge.
How Does a Fixed Bridge Work?
In a dental bridge, the gap that is left by a missing tooth or teeth is filled by a false tooth, or pontic. The pontic is connected to crowns that are placed on one or more of the adjoining teeth. A bridge may be the best solution when there aren’t a lot of teeth missing, or the missing teeth are on one side of the mouth. There are three basic types of bridges — traditional, cantilever, and Maryland. Although similar, there are differences in how they are applied.
The traditional bridge, which is most recommended due to its strength and durability, connects the pontic to two crowns that are cemented to the adjoining, or abutment, teeth. However, there are times when one of the other two solutions may work best.
A cantilever bridge is used when there is only one adjoining tooth to use as an anchor. A Maryland bridge is the least invasive, but weakest, fixed bridge. Here the false tooth is bonded to the back of the abutment teeth instead of using crowns. It’s usually used where the appearance of a bridge might be most noticeable, like the front teeth.
Process to Install a Fixed Bridge
This process takes several steps, with the first being to prepare the abutment teeth. These teeth need to be shaped to allow room for a crown. The next step is to make impressions of the teeth. This is used to serve as a model for the pontic and the crowns that are being created. If necessary, a temporary bridge will be put in place to protect the exposed teeth while the permanent bridge is being made.
On a subsequent visit, your temporary bridge is removed and the new bridge with the pontic firmly attached to the crowns will be fitted and adjusted. Once no further visits for adjustment are required, the crowns are cemented into place and your new smile is ready to debut.
Are There Benefits to a Fixed Bridge?
A fixed bridge will last longer and be more convenient than dentures. Unlike a denture, a fixed bridge is more permanent and can only be removed by a dentist. That also means, unlike dentures, bridges don’t have to be removed for cleaning — you treat them just like your regular teeth. An implant is usually the most stable and secure treatment option, but a bridge is less expensive and invasive and may be an attractive and affordable solution for you. The many benefits of a fixed bridge include:
- Giving you back your smile and confidence
- Fixing your bite to improve your ability to chew
- Correcting speech and pronunciation affected by missing teeth
- Reshaping your face since missing teeth can cause a sunken appearance that seems prematurely aged
- Preventing future shifting and misalignment of the teeth and jaws
- Reducing the risk of gum disease or bone loss from infection that can occur more easily from food being packed into the gap
With proper care and regular checkups, it’s not uncommon for your fixed bridge to typically last 10 years or longer. If you are in the Lewisville, Texas, area and are missing a tooth, or it’s just time for a regular checkup, contact us here at Sehnert Precision Dentistry to schedule an appointment today!