Dental bridges replace missing teeth by attaching false teeth, called pontics, to neighboring teeth. Dr. Killian caps healthy teeth on either side of the pontic with crowns, which support the false tooth and "bridges" the gap between the teeth.
Missing teeth should always be replaced. Gaps between teeth affect appearance, especially when one of the front teeth is lost. Gaps in teeth also place neighboring teeth under strain. Over time adjacent teeth can lean into the gap left by the lost tooth, altering how your upper and lower teeth meet. The empty space also acts as a trap for food debris and bacteria, increasing your risk of gum disease and tooth decay. A lost tooth can even affect how you talk.
Types of Dental Bridge
Dental bridges can be made from metal alloys, porcelain, gold or a combination of these materials. Front teeth dental bridges are usually made of porcelain, which can be shaded to match the color of your natural teeth.
Three different types of dental bridge exist:
- Fixed bridges are permanently attached to teeth on either side of the gap and cannot be removed.
- Cantilever dental bridges are an option when bridgework can only be attached to teeth on one side of the gap. Cantilever bridges are best suited for areas where the teeth take minimal stress, such as the front teeth.
- Resin-bonded dental bridges, also known as Maryland-bonded bridges, use a false tooth made of plastic and hidden metal bands. Dr. Killian uses resin to cement the false tooth to the dental crowns on either side of the gap. Gaps in front teeth can be fixed with resin-bonded bridges, as can any gap with strong adjacent teeth.
Fitting Dental Bridges
Fitting a dental bridge usually takes two appointments. During your first appointment, Dr. Killian numbs the area around the gap and prepares the adjacent teeth for crowns by trimming small amounts of material from the teeth. He then takes a mold, or impression, of the teeth. The mold is sent to a dental service lab that makes the crowns. You'll receive a temporary dental bridge to protect the prepared teeth and gums while you wait.
During the second appointment Dr. Killian removes the temporary bridge and fits your new dental bridge, cementing it into place. You may need additional appointments to adjust the fit of the bridge. If you receive a fixed dental bridge, Dr. Killian will fit the bridge with temporary cement so adjustments can be made, and then permanently fixes the bridge after a few weeks.
You will need to brush and floss the area around the dental bridge carefully to keep the area clean and prevent tooth decay. With proper oral hygiene, a dental bridge can last 10 to 15 years.
Alternate Dental Services
Dental bridges can replace one to three adjacent missing teeth, if the surrounding teeth are healthy. Teeth that have received extensive fillings are too weak to support a crown. Dental services, such as partial dentures or dental implants, can replace missing teeth if bridgework is not an option.
If you live in the Carlisle, PA area we'll be happy to fill any gaps in your smile!
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