Dental Bridges (Fixed Partial Dentures)

Teeth play an important role in speaking, chewing and in maintaining the proper alignment of other teeth. Tooth loss does not necessarily have to occur as we age, but if it does occur the teeth should be replaced to maintain the proper function and appearance of your mouth. Fortunately, there are options for correcting tooth loss.

Dental Bridge

A bridge (proper name: fixed partial denture)is a device used to replace missing teeth by attaching artificial teeth to adjacent natural teeth. This is done by crowning the adjacent natural teeth and attaching a false tooth structure on them. A bridge is permanently cemented and can not be removed once placed.

Fixed bridges are typically cemented to the natural teeth next to the space left by the missing tooth. A pontic (false tooth) replaces the lost tooth. Crowns, which are cemented onto the natural teeth, provide support for the bridge.

What exactly is a bridge or fixed partial denture?

A bridge (fixed partial denture) is a device which fills the gap where teeth are absent. Fixed bridges are bonded into place and can not be removed once cemented.A fixed bridge offers more stability and a more lifelike feel than a partial (removable partial denture).

Why should I replace missing teeth?

maintain good chewing function
support the cheek and lips and prevent a “sunken” appearance
avoid overloading the other natural teeth and gums
prevent teeth next to the space from tipping and moving
prevent teeth in the opposing jaw from growing out of position
prevent speech disorder

How is a bridge made?

The clinical procedures usually take two or three appointments to complete. At the first appointment Dr. Bishop and Dr. Abey will prepare the teeth on either side of the gap by removing a portion of the enamel and dentin.

Since the bridge must be fabricated very precisely to ensure the correct bite and to match the opposing teeth, impressions of the teeth are made. A dental laboratory will construct the bridge.

What materials are used?

Bridges can be constructed from gold alloys, non-precious alloys, porcelain, or a combination of these materials. Porcelain is often bonded to either precious or non-precious metal.

How do I take care of my bridge?

A strict regimen of brushing and flossing will keep the bridge and surrounding teeth clean. This is of critical importance as the bridge relies on the neighboring teeth for support.
When considering a bridge, alternative treatments such as dental implants or removable partial dentures should be considered.The relative merits and disadvantages of each treatment should be evaluated also for your particular situation.