Dental bridges have been used for thousands of years to replace missing teeth. Ancient dental bridges were often encased in gold and worn as a status symbol. Today’s dental bridges are more natural-looking and blend seamlessly with surrounding teeth.
Missing a few teeth may seem insignificant, but a space in the dental arch has the potential to cause major dental problems. The teeth left behind can overlap and shift in an occurrence called a “dental drift.” That can be bad news down the road for the patient, leading to the following:
- Crowded teeth that are more susceptible to decay and gum disease because they can’t be properly cleaned
- Increased risk of TMJ
- Misaligned biting patterns (malocclusion)
Completing the Arch
Dental bridges are a traditional dental prosthetic meant to fill in the space left by a missing tooth or teeth. Bridges consist of two parts: abutments and pontics. Abutments are the porcelain crowns fixed to surrounding teeth that anchor the bridge. The replacement tooth is called a pontic. Abutments and pontics work together to maintain consistency in the dental arch for esthetics, eating, and speaking.
Removable vs. Fixed Bridges
Dental bridges are either removable or fixed. Patients can take out removable bridges before bedtime for cleaning, just like dentures. Fixed bridges are permanently cemented to abutments and provide a more substantial anchor for replacement teeth and, therefore, must be removed by a dentist.
The bridge installation procedure is not complicated only takes two visits:
- The area is prepped with local anesthetic, and the abutments are prepared.
- Impressions of the teeth are made for optimal fit then sent to the lab.
- The dentist places a temporary bridge until the permanent one is ready.
- The dentist swaps out the temporary bridge for the permanent bridge.
If Dr. Mai concludes that a bridge is the best option to replace your missing teeth, we’ll first perform an extensive exam of your teeth, gums, and supporting bone structure. Then we will settle on what bridge is best for you, and explain what you can expect.
Interested in a Dental Bridge?
We offer both removable and fixed dental bridges to restore missing teeth and improve the health and function of your smile. For our patients who don’t speak English, our office is fluent in both Spanish and Vietnamese. To learn more, or to schedule your next appointment, call our Garland, TX office today at (972) 530-0552.