A bridge is
a device used to fill the space where a tooth has fallen out or been removed.
A typical bridge consists of a pontic (a filler tooth) that is attached
to two surrounding crowns (abutments). Once complete, this bridge structure
is bonded into the mouth. Without the use of a bridge, spaces in the mouth
from missing teeth can cause multiple teeth to shift, lead to occlusion
(biting) and/or jaw problems, and may spur periodontal disease. Bridges
safeguard the integrity of existing teeth and help maintain a healthy,
require two trips to the dentist's office. During the initial visit, the
surrounding teeth are numbed with a local anesthetic. The dentist prepares
the surrounding teeth by cleaning any plaque or decay that remains and
reducing them so that the crowns can be fitted. The dentist makes a mold
of the teeth and sends it off to a dental lab where the customized impression
is prepared. The customized mold takes one to two weeks to return to the
office. In the interim, patients are fitted with a temporary bridge constructed
of acrylic resin. When the patient returns to the dental office, the dentist
removes the temporary bridge and replaces it with the permanent one. The
dentist then adjusts the bridge for the proper bite and fit, and the bridge
is permanently bonded into the mouth.
There are several
different types of bridges. The first is a fixed bridge, which consists
of a filler tooth (referred to as a pontic) that is attached to two crowns.
The crowns fit over the existing teeth to hold the bridge in place. The
fixed bridge is the most popular bridge.
design is a composite bond, known as a "Maryland" bridge. This type of
bridge is commonly used to replace the front teeth. The pontic is attached
to metal bands that are bonded to the abutment teeth and the metal bands
are hidden with a white-colored
bridge is often used when there are teeth on only one side of the span.
A typical 3 unit cantilever bridge consists of two abutment crowns that
are positioned side by side on the same side of the missing tooth space.
The pontic is then connected to the two crowns, which extend into the missing
If the missing
tooth space has no surrounding teeth, the dentist may decide an implant
is the most appropriate choice. Please refer to Dental Implants in the
Patient Education Library for more information. When a series of teeth
are missing, the dentist may suggest a partial denture as the most effective
way to maintain the structure of the jawbone and teeth.
must be given to insure that the gum line and area surrounding the new
structure is kept clean. This is especially true because the pontic and
crowns are constructed as a single piece. Special floss is often necessary
to clean underneath the teeth and maintain strong, healthy gums. With proper
dental care, bridges can last up to 10 years.
Inlays and On lays..•..Porcelain