As technology continues to race ahead all around us, it’s easy to overlook facets of life that still work just fine without anything new crazy changes. Pens are like that. They’re about the same as they were 50 years ago. Why change them? Hockey skates haven’t changed much. Same with football cleats. The rearview mirror in your car is the same as it was in the 1970s.
And dental bridges haven’t changed. Porcelain fused to an underlying metal structure works just fine for replacing missing teeth.
But what’s new and exciting about that? Nothing. That’s the point. Dental bridges aren’t broken, so why fix them? We place dental bridges all the time at Gentle Dental.
What is a dental bridge?
A bridge is one of two ways to replace a missing tooth or a couple of missing teeth. A bridge consists of two crowns that are placed on the healthy teeth on each side of the gap, and those crowns are attached to the prosthetic with the metal structure attached to the artificial teeth and gum-colored resin. The entire bridge is a single piece.
This basically has been unchanged for decades. Sure, there are better ways to match the color of the porcelain to the natural teeth. Sure, computer software can design the bridge on screen. But the basics are still the same…because they work.
A dental bridge is a more affordable option for replacing missing teeth when compared to dental implants. At Gentle Dental, we feel a dental implant is far and away the best way to replace a missing tooth, but cost can be an issue, especially if the person is missing more than one tooth.
How is a bridge placed?
A bridge takes two appointments at Gentle Dental. During the first appointment, we prepare your abutment teeth to hold their crowns. This involves shaving these teeth down on all sides and on top to create room for the crowns to completely overlay the teeth down to the gumline. We then take dental impressions and use a shade guide to match the porcelain for your crowns and artificial teeth to the color of your natural teeth that will sit next to them. We send this information to the dental lab to use when creating your custom bridge. In the meantime, we place temporary crowns on your two abutment teeth.
When your bridge is completed, you return for your second appointment. We first place the bridge and check the fit, making minor adjustments as necessary. If you prefer, we can let you “demo” the fit, placing the bridge with temporary cement and letting you chew on it for a day or so. Then, once you’re happy with the fit, we cement the two crowns down permanently and your smile is perfect once again. You can go right out and use your new artificial tooth or teeth in your bridge, but avoid overly chewy foods for the first day or so.