Your smile is one of the first things people notice about you. If you aren’t smiling as much as you would like because of missing or problem teeth, you may want to consider the smile-changing possibilities available with dental bridges – a long-term solution for major dental problems or missing teeth caused by disease, wear, and tear, and accidents.
A bridge replaces a missing tooth, is tooth-colored, is cemented in place and never comes out. It requires healthy teeth on each side of the space, called “abutment teeth,” to hold the replacement tooth in place. Crowns are placed onto the abutment teeth and the replacement tooth is placed between them – creating a “bridge.” Bridges are made of porcelain or ceramic material that is precisely matched to the color of your natural teeth.
Bridges are used to improve tooth alignment and problems with the way your teeth fit together. Unlike dentures which are removable, bridges are permanently cemented onto existing teeth and never removed. Your dentist may recommend a bridge if you are missing one or more teeth. Missing teeth create gaps, shifting of your teeth, periodontal (gum) disease, decay and structural imbalance in your mouth. The remaining teeth tend to rotate or shift into the gaps, which can result in serious “bite” issues, gum disease and TMJ (temporomandibular joint) problems.
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TMJ and Jaw Joint Disorders
Before a bridge can be made, the tooth or abutment teeth must be reduced in size so that the crown or bridge will fit properly. An impression of your mouth will be taken to provide an exact mold for the bridge. If porcelain is used, your dentist will determine the correct shade to match the color of your existing teeth. Your bridge will be made by a dental lab and a “temporary” will be placed while your permanent bridge is being made. It usually takes about two weeks for a permanent porcelain bridge to be fabricated at a dental laboratory.
Yes. With today's advanced all Porcelain ceramic techniques, it is possible to fabricate porcelain crowns and bridges that look so real they are almost indistinguishable from natural teeth.
Although bridges can last a lifetime, the most important thing you can do to ensure their longevity is to practice good oral hygiene. Keep your gums and teeth healthy by brushing and flossing daily. Visit your dentist regularly for checkups and professional cleanings and avoid chewing on ice or other hard foods.
If you would like to learn more about bridges, call our office at (310) 881-8780 to book a consultation.