Fixed Bridges: Stability & Renewal

The Consequences of Missing Teeth

If you're missing permanent teeth, there are several important dental health concerns about which you should be aware. You see, losing a permanent tooth actually sets in motion a series of negative consequences that only grow more significant with age.

For example, without the physical presence of the missing tooth, adjacent and opposing teeth may shift and loosen. In turn, this loosening may negatively affect speaking and chewing, and create less than ideal biting forces…further damaging adjacent teeth. Further, the absent tooth or teeth compromises jawbone health and density as well. How so? The purpose of the jawbone is to hold teeth in place. If a particular section of the jawbone no longer receives a 'signal' from the presence of a resident tooth, it will simply dissolve away!

The Fixed Bridge Solution

Fortunately, with today's expert dental techniques and materials, there's no need to try to function with missing teeth, nor to tolerate the many related problems. One of the most durable and straightforward options available is to replace the missing teeth with a special fixed 'bridge' appliance.

A fixed bridge simply consists of a series of crowns joined together, supported by neighboring 'abutment' teeth on either side of the toothless area. It not only fills the space, thereby preventing repositioning of remaining teeth, but corrects an altered bite, improves chewing ability and speech articulation, and supports facial structures to preserve your normal appearance. Further, the criteria for successful bridge placement is simply the presence of at least one healthy tooth on either side of the toothless span.

Anterior view with missing front teeth. Occlusal view showing missing front and back teeth.
Anterior view showing completed bridge. Occlusal view of completed bridge.
Before treatment with partial denture. Completed fixed bridgework.
Compromised esthetics with partial denture. Function and esthetics restored.

The Placement & Fitting Process

Bridge placement and fitting is a fairly simple process. First, Dr. Goldberg will reduce the adjacent abutment teeth as needed to anchor the bridge. Next, he will carefully take an impression of your mouth, from which we’ll have the laboratory design your bridge’s metal framework and pontic. During the second appointment, we’ll fit the newly fabricated, custom-fit bridge over your teeth. Typically, the entire process takes around two to four weeks, depending on the style of bridge we’ve recommended. A little extra time is occasionally required to precisely match the bridge’s color shade to that of your natural teeth.

Suggestions for Safeguarding

Your new bridgework needs to be cared for as meticulously as you would your natural teeth. So, you’ll need to be committed to excellent oral hygiene: twice daily brushing, daily flossing, and regular professional cleanings at our office. Sometimes we'll even recommend using floss threaders to help remove bacteria from hard to reach spaces between the bridge and your adjacent teeth and gums. We're extremely vigilant with our bridge patients, as such build up can imperceptibly lead to early stages of gum disease… which unchecked, would mean removal of the bridge. However, with proper oral hygiene, you can expect your fixed bridge to last at least 8-10 years.

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