When teeth are lost and not replaced, eating, speaking and aesthetics can be compromised. When tooth replacement is delayed too long, the shape of your face can begin to change, you can develop jaw joint disorders and your ability to chew can be impacted. This can lead to poor nutrition and force other teeth to drift out of position causing tooth decay, gum diseases and other oral health issues.
The dental bridge procedure
First, we will take an impression of the missing tooth or teeth, the abutment teeth (i.e., the teeth that neighbour the missing tooth or teeth that will be used to support the bridge), and the surrounding area of the jaw and gums.
From there, we decide from three types of dental bridges:
- A traditional bridge: This is used when the abutment teeth are strong and can support the bridge. Think of it like installing a hammock on two trees.
- An implant bridge: This is used when the abutment teeth are dental implants. Factors like the amount of abutment tooth surface the dentist has to work with and the number of teeth making up the bridge factor into determining whether an implant bridge is the right approach. Following the hammock analogy, this would be like putting two poles in the ground to hang your hammock on because the trees are either too far apart or are not strong enough to support the hammock.
- A bonded bridge: This is used primarily as a dental bridge for front teeth. The abutment teeth received minimal treatment and the bridge is cemented so that it is invisible.
Once the decision on which bridge to use has been made, we send the measurements to our lab to create a bridge that perfectly fits your mouth. During this process we typically install a temporary bridge, connected to the abutment teeth. In about two weeks, when your permanent bridge is ready, we replace the temporary bridge with the permanent one.
The bridged area can be sensitive for the first few days following the procedure, but this does not tend to last long. If required, over-the-counter medications like acetaminophen or ibuprofen are used to manage discomfort.
This following video further explains bridging and the bridging process.
The advantage of dental bridging to natural teeth
When the abutment teeth are not dental implants, a dental bridge is a fast, effective way to replace missing teeth, restore function and improve aesthetics.