A dental bridge is called a bridge because it bridges a gap in your teeth.
When you are missing a tooth, the gap can be a problem that goes beyond its effect on your appearance. Sometimes surrounding teeth will shift, causing a change in your bite that can be painful.
The solution is to place a “false” or “dummy” tooth in the gap, and to fasten it to the surrounding teeth. The false tooth, or pontic, and the material connecting it to your real teeth is the dental bridge.
You will not get your permanent bridge on your first visit. What Dr. Simpson, your Houston dentist, does on that first visit is:
1. Prepare the surrounding teeth, which may include filing the teeth down so that a crown will fit best on them.
2. Take an impression of the teeth, which will then be sent to a laboratory to be used in designing your bridge.
3. Place a temporary bridge in that spot to protect your teeth until the permanent bridge is ready to be placed in your mouth.
Then on your second visit, your dentist will replace the temporary bridge with your permanent bridge. After this, there will typically be one or more follow-up visits, as the dentist will want to check your bridge, and to adjust the fit if necessary.
Types of Dental Bridges
Your Houston dentist may use any one of three types of bridges:
• A traditional fixed bridge is the most common type of bridge. The dentist places porcelain crowns over the surrounding teeth, which function as anchors for the false tooth placed between them. The false tooth may be made of ceramic, porcelain fused to metal, or porcelain alone.
• A resin-bonded bridge is typically used on the front teeth, and not the teeth farther back that undergo more stress from chewing. A plastic false tooth is attached to the surrounding teeth by a metal band, held in place with resin.
• A cantilever bridge is also typically used on the front teeth, but can be used on the back teeth when necessary. Cantilever bridges are made of the same material as traditional fixed bridges. They are used when it is not possible or not desirable to attach the false tooth to teeth on both sides of it. This can be because there is no tooth on one side, the tooth on one side is already being used for a dental bridge, or there is an aesthetic reason not to use one of the teeth.