A dental bridge may be the best alternative for those who have a missing tooth or need to have teeth removed and do not qualify for dental implants. A bridge is made up of one or more custom prosthetic teeth which nests in the spot of missing teeth. Crowns are placed on the neighboring teeth to anchor the new prosthetic into place.
If you have missing teeth, it is important to fill those spaces, or else your teeth may start to shift around. This not only affects the cosmetic appearance of your pearly whites, it can also severely alter your bite. Those with missing teeth are also at a higher risk for TMJ ( temporomandibular joint disorders) and gum disease.
The process is faster and often more cost effective than dental implants, as the procedure requires no intensive surgery or grafting. Those with diabetes, heart conditions, other health issues, and old age may be more well suited towards this procedure. If your neighboring teeth need crowns as well, this could also be the right procedure for you.
The first step your dentist will take is to prepare the neighboring teeth called abutments by contouring them to reduce their size so a crown may be placed over them. After that, your dentist will take impressions of your teeth so he or she can shape the new teeth to fit your mouth. You will then receive a temporary bridge until the prosthetics are created in the lab.
On your second visit, the dentist will remove your temporary bridge and replace it with the new one. This may require some adjustments to make sure you have a comfortable bite. Your dentist may hold off on permanently cementing the bridge until a later visit, to ensure best fit.