A dental bridge refers to a fabricated, replacement tooth that is connected to two crowns on either side, and used to fill the gap left by a missing tooth. The crowns supporting the false tooth (pontic) are attached onto the adjacent teeth on each side of the gap, forming a bridge.
Dental bridgework provides one of several treatments available to replace one or more missing teeth. Getting a dental bridge typically requires two or more dental appointments:
During the first appointment:
The dentist determines that you’re a good candidate for dental bridges, and proceeds to prepare the abutment teeth to support the crowns that will hold the pontic in place. Only adjacent healthy teeth can be used as abutment teeth. They’re prepared by removing some of the tooth enamel to create room to place the crown over them without changing the shape or size of the tooth. The dentist then takes an impression of the teeth that will be used to fabricate your permanent bridge in a dental lab. This process takes several days, so a temporary bridge will be placed over the prepared teeth to protect them in the meantime.
For the second appointment:
When your permanent custom bridge is ready, you will be asked to return to the dentist’s office to have the temporary crowns removed and replaced with the permanent restoration. The dentist will check and adjust the fit of the abutment crowns before cementing them in place. Next, the dentist will assess the patient’s bite and adjust the bridgework accordingly.
Your bridgework should last for many years on your oral hygiene routine and mouth-related habits such as clenching, grinding, nail-biting, and chewing on ice, all of which affect the amount of wear that the restoration is exposed to. Please discuss with your dentist about ways to maximize the longevity of your dental bridges.