Before the real emergence of dental implants, dental bridges were the preferred method for replacing a missing tooth. Dental bridges, as their name implies, “bridge” the gap created by a missing tooth or a couple of teeth. They are one of our treatments are Prosthodontics of New York.
Why replace a missing tooth?
If you have a tooth knocked out while playing a little pond hockey at your friend’s on Long Island, it’s tempting not to replace it. This is especially true of molars since they aren’t visible.
But that’s a bad idea. You see, your teeth stay put thanks to the pressure placed on them by their neighbors. It’s kind of like the bleachers at a football game. When full, everyone stays in their assigned spot, pressed in on both sides by neighbors. But when one person gets up to get a Coke, people on both sides slide into the gap. Your teeth do the same thing when a missing tooth/teeth create/create a gap. This leads to alignment, spacing, and other problems that you don’t want.
What is a bridge?
While Drs. Roberts and Sirota feel dental implants are the best option for replacing a tooth; patients sometimes opt to have a bridge, especially when there is more than a single missing tooth. A bridge spans the gap between the missing tooth or teeth, using a crown to anchor it on each side with an artificial tooth (called a pontic) in the middle. The adjacent teeth on each side are the abutment teeth. Bridges can be made of a variety of materials, but the most common bridge materials are porcelain and ceramic.
How is a bridge placed?
When placing a bridge, the first step is to prepare the abutment teeth. We remove some of the sides and the top of each of the two abutment teeth to make room for crowns to be placed atop both teeth. We then take dental impressions and send them to our dental lab for fabrication of your bridge. The bridge will be a single piece, with crowns on both sides and the pontic or points in between.
When your bridge is finished, you return, and we check the fit and the color match of your bridge. If everything looks good, we cement the crowns down onto your abutment teeth, and you’re good to go.
Crowns can last the rest of your life if you practice good home hygiene. Any decay on the abutment teeth, however, can cause a bridge to become loose and fail.