The purpose of dental bridges are exactly what they sound like: to bridge the gap between a missing tooth (or teeth). Dental bridges are composed of a false tooth/teeth (which replaces the missing tooth) surrounded by two or more crowns (which go over anchoring teeth that have been recontoured). False teeth (called pontics) are most commonly made of porcelain due to its similarity in color to natural teeth.
While dental bridges are meant to function for a number of years, they will endure normal wear and tear and may eventually need to be replaced or re-attached.
During the first visit, surrounding teeth (called abutment teeth) are recontoured by removing some of the enamel to make room for the crowns that will be placed on top. The next step is to make precise impressions of the patient’s teeth. Performed in a lab, these impressions will serve as the model for all components of the bridge. Finally, your dentist will provide a temporary bridge that will serve to protect exposed gums and teeth.
During the second visit, the temporary bridge is removed and the porcelain bridge is put in its place. This may require adjustments to ensure a proper fit, and perhaps even multiple visits to the dentist. Once a proper fit is ensured, the bridge is cemented for permanent placement. In some occasions, the dentist may cement the bridge temporarily to ensure proper fit and room for adjustments. In these cases, the bridge is cemented permanently on a subsequent visit.
At the end of the procedure, the dentist will give guidelines for proper at-home care of your new bridge, including practicing good oral hygiene, eating a healthy diet, and visiting the dentist regularly to check on its progress and proper fit.