October 19th, 2023
Bridges are one of the available options to replace a missing tooth. When you have a missing tooth that has healthy teeth on either side of it, a bridge can be fabricated to “bridge” the two teeth with a fake tooth in the middle. The two adjacent teeth are prepared the same way they would be for a crown, and the bridge is cemented on them, so the replacement does not need to be removed.
Bridges are a permanent tooth replacement option that is a good alternative when implants are not ideal. Generally, the costs of a bridge and implant are similar, so we encourage patients to choose the replacement that will suit their individual needs the best. An example where a bridge would be a better option would be if you are prone to gum disease, as gum disease can affect implants. Another example would be if the adjacent teeth need crowns anyways, the bridge would fix both issues of replacing the missing tooth and creating a crown for the neighbor tooth.
The procedure for creating a bridge is very similar to preparing a tooth for a crown. The two teeth supporting the bridge are shaped to fit under a typical crown, then the teeth are scanned and a temporary bridge is placed. The dental lab will fabricate the bridge to fit your teeth and send it to our office to be delivered a few weeks later. Our dentists will then cement the bridge on the supporting teeth the same way a crown is cemented.
Caring for a bridge is just like any other tooth, however flossing can be more complicated. Because the teeth are bridged together, floss must be threaded under the bridge to keep the area clean from food debris or plaque buildup. Many of our patients prefer to use a Waterpik to clean around their bridges, as it will do just as good of a job as threading floss and is much easier to use.
Our go-to material for dental bridges is high strength Zirconia, the same that is used for most crowns. It is a very strong material that can stand up to biting forces without breaking, but will also minimize wearing down of the teeth on the opposite arch. For our anterior bridges we prefer to use Emax, a lithium disilicate glass-ceramic that provides excellent esthetics while still providing the strength needed to chew. In some long span bridges, we will use porcelain fused to metal for its high strength, however it is avoided as the porcelain tends to chip off over time.
Our office makes sure to have conversations with our patients so you know what your tooth replacement options are and will review the pros and cons for each option depending on your unique situation. If you have missing teeth that you would like replaced, please call our office today to see if a bridge is right for you!