If you are missing one or more teeth, there are many dental treatment options available to restore your smile. A fixed partial denture, or dental bridge, is one treatment option for replacing missing teeth.

A Fixed Partial Denture is made up of two parts:

  • Pontic: The part of the bridge that serves as the false tooth. If you are missing more than one tooth, there will be multiple pontics. The pontic can be made of a variety of materials with the goal of creating a false tooth that matches the surrounding natural teeth.
  • Abutments: The part of the bridge that holds the pontic in the gap where the missing tooth used to be. It is essentially a crown on either side of the space that connects to the pontic.

Information On How Dental Bridges Are Made

Dental bridges are not made in your dentist’s office. Bridges are made in a dental lab based on the specifications your dentist provides. Not all dental bridges are the same. Bridges may be made from a variety of durable and long-lasting materials. In general, the pontic or the crowns are typically made from porcelain or a porcelain and glass mixture to create a shiny natural look. Patients may opt for an alternative option like a metal alloy, depending on their preference.

The Dental Bridge Treatment Process

One of the main reasons why patients opt for a dental bridge is that it can be made relatively quickly to fit to replace a missing tooth.

  • First, the surrounding teeth need to be reshaped to help support the bridge. This step is similar to having a crown made, except both abutments are shaped.
  • Your dentist will make a mold of your mouth to send to the dental lab so they can build your bridge. The measurements are usually done with a physical impression of your teeth and the space.
  • In about two weeks, your dentist will receive your custom-made bridge and will call you to schedule a fitting. At your next visit, the bridge will be fitted in your mouth to make sure it is comfortable, and you are satisfied with the size, color, and texture of the artificial tooth and the frame.
  • If you are satisfied with the bridge, the dentist will fix the new bridge in your mouth by securing it to the existing teeth using dental bonding cement.

Dental Bridge Benefits

There are many benefits to choosing a dental bridge for replacement of a missing tooth. Beyond being self-conscious about the appearance of your smile, missing teeth can cause many issues for your oral health. Missing teeth can result in shifting, or the “drift” of the teeth surrounding the gap where your tooth used to be. This drift can impact the structure of your mouth, as well as your bite. A dental bridge can make sure that the physical space between your teeth is maintained, and you do not end up with unwanted movement of the other teeth overtime. Another benefit is the improvement of chewing function. Dental bridges restore a tooth to an area that was previously missing, which helps the patient chew more effectively and efficiently. Having a proper bite with good alignment is really important to reduce the risk of jaw pain/discomfort and the potential for premature wearing down of enamel on some of your teeth. Lastly, of course, is that having a bridge custom-made for you will restore your smile and improve self-esteem.

Although dental bridges are an effective tooth replacement option, they may not be a possibility for every patient, depending on the amount of teeth missing and their locations. The best way to address the benefits and considerations of a dental bridge is to have a discussion with a dentist. The dental professionals at Lawhead Family Dentistry will provide insight on whether a dental bridge is a good option for you and which type of bridge may be the best fit for your needs. Drs. Chris and Carlin Lawhead want to make sure you have a discussion about your oral health goals, and that you feel comfortable and confident with your missing tooth replacement treatment.