A dental bridge is exactly what it sounds like. It is a bridge that fills the gap caused by a missing tooth. For example, let’s say you lose a tooth and now have an empty space where your tooth once was. A dental bridge is comprised of two or more crowns -one of which will be the crown to fill the missing gap. In most cases, the teeth on either side of the missing tooth will be crowned and serve as the anchor for the crown in the middle (replacing the missing tooth).
Dental Bridge Procedure
The bridge procedure is generally a two-visit process. The first visit consists of several steps:
- Your dentist prepares the two teeth on either side of the gap. These teeth are commonly referred to as the abutment teeth for the bridge. These teeth must be recontoured so that a crown will fit over the top of them.
- A mold is made of the abutment teeth as well as the missing gap. A dental lab uses the mold to create the dental bridge.
- Your dentist will affix a temporary bridge in place to protect your teeth and gums while the permanent bridge is manufactured.
During the second visit, the dentist installs your permanent bridge. Similar to cementing a single crown in place, the dentist will check the fit and bite and make any adjustments needed.
Dental Bridge Benefits
There are several benefits that would warrant a dental bridge versus leaving a gap in your teeth:
- A bridge will restore your confidence in your appearance.
- Restore your ability to chew and speak correctly
- Prevent your remaining teeth from drifting out of alignment
- Maintain the natural shape of your face and jawline
A dental bridge can last between 5 and 15 years with 10 years being the average lifespan when accompanied with good oral hygiene and regular dental checkups.