A bridge is a dental device that replaces a missing tooth (or teeth). Dental bridges come in two types:
Your teeth are made to work as a team. If one tooth is missing, the surrounding teeth may shift into the open space. And, depending on where the space is located, the teeth above or below the opening may shift up or down. This can cause tooth misalignment, which can:
Teeth play a critical role in maintaining your face shape. When you have a missing tooth, the underlying bone may shrink. This can change the way the jawbone supports the cheek and lips. Over time, the shape of your face may change, altering your appearance.
Removable bridges usually consist of an acrylic base with metal clasps or a frame. Permanent or fixed bridges are usually made of metal, ceramics, or a combination of both materials. Ceramic materials are usually bonded to a metal alloy.
Your comfort is important to your dentist. Tell your dentist about any concerns you have before the procedure.
Getting a bridge is a virtually painless process. Prior to the procedure, the dentist will numb the teeth and the surrounding gum tissue with a local anesthetic. Your mouth may feel slightly uncomfortable for a few days after the procedure. Your dentist may recommend an over-the-counter pain reliever to alleviate any soreness or discomfort.
It's usually easy to get used to and feel comfortable with a dental bridge.
Placing a bridge usually takes two or more visits.
The dentist may apply a topical anesthetic to partially numb the gum tissue.
The dentist then uses a local anesthetic to numb the area.
The dentist will reshape and prepare the teeth adjacent to the opening. This is so the dental crowns which support the bridge, will fit snugly over them.
The dentist will make an impression of the open space and the prepared teeth around it. The impression is sent to a dental lab that will make your dental bridge.
Your dentist will place a temporary bridge in your mouth. You'll wear a temporary bridge until your new bridge is ready – usually a few weeks.
The dentist will remove the temporary bridge and place the new bridge. He will test and adjust the bridge for a proper fit.
Let your dentist know if your mouth feels sore after getting a bridge. A follow-up visit may be required so the dentist can further adjust the bridge for a comfortable bite.
A bridge is one solution to replacing a missing tooth. Discuss the treatment options available with your dentist.