If you are missing one or more teeth, a bridge may be the solution. Watch this video as Dr. Maria Lopez Howell discusses how bridges help maintain the shape of your face and alleviate the stress in your bite.
Over time, as you age and your mouth changes, your removable bridge (a restoration that replaces or spans the space where one or more teeth have been lost) may no longer fit well. It also could break; crack or chip, or one of the teeth could loosen. In many instances, dentists can make the necessary adjustment or repairs, often on the same day. But complicated repairs may take longer. If you need extensive dental reconstruction, including a removable bridge, your dentist will provide the treatment or refer you to a prosthodontist.
Your dentist can explain how long the removable bridge (a restoration that replaces or spans the space where one or more teeth have been lost) should be worn and when it should be removed. At the start, you may be asked to wear it for the first 24 hours. While this may temporarily cause discomfort, it is the quickest way to identify any parts requiring adjustment. If the bridge puts too much pressure on one area, that spot will become sore. Your dentist can adjust the bridge to fit more comfortably. Once adjusted, your dentist may recommend that you remove the bridge before going to sleep and replace it when you awaken.
As its name describes, a removable bridge (sometimes called a removable partial denture) readily can be taken out of the mouth for cleaning. Although removable bridges generally are less expensive, fixed bridges (a restoration that replaces or spans the space where one or more teeth have been lost), when indicated, may feel more stable and comfortable.
Depending on your situation, however, a removable bridge may be for you. Removable bridges usually have replacement teeth attached to gum-colored plastic bases connected by metal framework. They may attach to your natural teeth with metal clasps or devices called precision attachments. A claspless removable bridge, when indicated, may provide better support and esthetics. Crowns on your natural teeth may improve the way a removable bridge fits your mouth. Ask your dentist which type is right for you.
A fixed bridge (a restoration that replaces or spans the space where one or more teeth have been lost) can be attached to your natural teeth. Different types of artificial teeth may be used in fixed bridges. These include gold, porcelain fused to metal, and all-porcelain.
In some instances, a resin-bonded fixed bridge (sometimes called a "Maryland bridge") can be used to replace one or more missing teeth. Because it is attached by a special procedure called bonding, it doesn't require the use of crowns or extensive tooth preparation. Your dentist can determine whether this treatment method is appropriate for you.
A fixed bridge (a restoration that replaces or spans the space where one or more teeth have been lost) is commonly cemented or bonded to the natural teeth next to the space left by the missing teeth. An artificial tooth (called a pontic) replaces the lost natural tooth, and restores its function. A pontic is attached to a crown (restoration that covers a tooth). Crowns, which are cemented on adjacent repaired teeth, serve as retainers that support the fixed bridge.
A fixed bridge (sometimes called a fixed partial denture) is a restoration that replaces or spans the space where one or more teeth have been lost. A fixed bridge is bonded or cemented into place -- only a dentist can remove it.