Fixed Partial dentures, also referred to as a dental bridge, are a tool that dentists use to fill one or more gaps that are left when there are teeth missing from a patient’s mouth. The need for a dental bridge commonly arises as a result of tooth decay or trauma. A dental bridge fills both a cosmetic and functional purpose, concealing the fact that teeth are missing and mimicking natural teeth, but also allowing easier speech and chewing, and preventing the remaining teeth from shifting into the gap, causing additional cosmetic problems.
A dental bridge can be combined with other types of dental hardware to get really stunning and effective results, both cosmetically and functionally. Combining a dental bridge with dental implants gives unparalleled anchor points, making spanning larger gaps easier and more stable.
A dental bridge generally takes several trips to the dentist to place them. They require a multiple step process, because the natural teeth that are going to be used as abutments or anchors must be prepared to receive the bridge, and/or implants placed, the bridge needs to be custom made, and the bridge must be fitted after it is made to insure the hardware was shaped properly.
Dental bridges, as has been mentioned, are custom pieces of dental hardware, as most dental hardware is. Custom making these appliances is necessary because every person’s mouth is different, based on genetics and wear. Getting them placed properly is not a complex process. First the abutment, or anchor teeth, must be shaped so that the crowns that form the ends of the bridge will fit securely over them. If an implant is providing the function of one or both of the abutments, this step is not necessary.
Once the abutments are shaped, an impression, or mold of the abutments are taken, and a bridge is constructed based on the molds. This is necessary so that the proper shape and proportions of both the crowns and the pontic, or dummy tooth that fills the gap in the teeth are insured. The pontic or pontics must fit both snugly between the abutments and sit perfectly against the gum line to act as a convincing bridge. Two methods are commonly used to do this engineering. One is computer based, and known as CAD/CAM technology. The other method is known as the lost wax method. They can be made of gold, made of porcelain alone, or porcelain fused to a metal base.
Once the dental bridge has been made, the dentist fits it into the patient’s mouth and makes any adjustments. When the shape, the color, and the fit is just right, the dentist cements the bridge permanently into place. If the patient is overly worried about pain, sedation dentistry can be used to alleviate it.
It would be Dr. Yanni’s pleasure to answer any questions about a dental bridge or any other dental hardware, particularly for Monroe and East Brunswick patients. Please book a consultation with East Brunswick Dental Group.