A missing tooth doesn’t have to compromise your smile. With a fixed bridge from Courtesy Dental & Orthodontics, you can improve the integrity and appearance of your teeth.
A fixed bridge offers a natural and aesthetically pleasing replacement option for lost or missing teeth. It can improve a person’s overall appearance and self-confidence, and help to eliminate future dental problems.
Every tooth has three or four companion teeth, which are the neighboring teeth, along with one or two biting partners located in the opposite arch in the mouth.
When a tooth is lost, it no longer functions as a companion tooth or biting partner, leaving a void spot in the mouth. The remaining teeth no longer receive the stability supported by this lost tooth. Without the support of the lost tooth, shifting will occur. Abnormally exposed areas are prone to decay and periodontal disease. Statistics tell us when a tooth is missing, its companion tooth will be lost next. The next tooth will be subjected to the same problems, and it creates a domino effect.
Any or all of the following can happen immediately after tooth loss, assuming that the missing tooth is not replaced:
What is a fixed bridge?
Dental bridges literally bridge the gap created by one or more missing teeth. A bridge is made up of two crowns for the teeth on either side of the gap and a false tooth/teeth in between.
Who should get a bridge?
If you are missing any teeth you may be a good candidate for a bridge. Fixed bridges can correct an altered bite, and maintain your appearance by preventing the collapse of your facial features that can cause premature wrinkles and age lines.
What procedures are involved?
For a traditional fixed bridge, the first appointment consists of the dentist reducing the adjacent abutment teeth that will act as anchors. Impressions are made, from which a metal framework, including the new tooth, is created. By the second appointment, the final bridge is fitted over the teeth. The total treatment time is usually between two and four weeks, depending on the type of bridge.
How do I care for a bridge?
You will continue to brush and floss teeth at least twice a day. Use special effort and care around areas where the bridge attaches to real teeth. You want to keep these teeth very healthy as they provide the means to support the bridge.
Your dentist may also recommend using floss threaders that help remove bacteria from hard to reach spaces between the bridge and adjacent teeth and gums.
If you maintain optimal oral hygiene care, you can expect your fixed bridge to last as many as 10-15 years, or even longer.