DENTAL BRIDGES IN PITTSBURGH
All of your teeth play an important role in speaking, chewing, and maintaining the proper alignment of other teeth your mouth. Tooth loss doesn’t always occur as you age; however, if you do lose teeth, they must be replaced to maintain proper function and prevent adjacent teeth from following suit. Dr. Pounds can help you decide if a fixed or removable bridge will solve your issues during a consultation at our downtown Pittsburgh dental office.
When Are Dental Bridges Used?
A dental bridge spans the gap caused by the loss of a tooth or teeth. Bridges can be fixed or removable, and are normally anchored in the mouth by attaching them to crowns on the adjacent, or abutment teeth. While removable bridges are convenient in that they can be removed for cleaning and are generally less expensive, they are not as stable or long lasting as fixed bridges, which are cemented in place.
Benefits of Dental Bridges
A dental bridge’s main job is to prevent further damage to the arch of your teeth. A properly placed dental bridge will:
- Restore a natural bite
- Keep adjacent teeth from drifting into the gap left by missing teeth
- Prevent extra stress on remaining teeth
- Lessen the chances of gum disease
- Keep opposing teeth aligned and in their proper place
- Provide a natural surface for chewing and speech
- Prevent the empty space from creating an altered facial appearance
A dental bridge spans the gap caused by the loss of a tooth, restoring proper function while speaking, chewing and alignment of the remaining teeth in your mouth. Dr. Pounds can help you decide if a bridge is a good solution for you. Contact us to request an appointment.Request an Appointment
Placing a Dental Bridge
Several steps are involved in placing a bridge, and usually at least two visits are necessary. Details may vary depending on whether you are having a fixed or removable bridge created, and how large the gap being covered is.
The first appointment is for preparation and consists of several steps:
- The teeth that will anchor the bridge must be prepared and shaped.
- Impressions must be created of the abutment teeth and the space between, for the crowns that will support the bridge and the “pontics” (natural looking false teeth) that will fill the gap.
- A temporary bridge will be installed to maintain the gap and support the remaining teeth.
At the lab, crowns are fabricated for the abutment teeth, the bridge is created, and pontics created that look like your natural teeth. The restorations can be created using gold alloys, non-precious alloys, porcelain, or a combination of these materials for strength and a natural looking appearance. The pontics are connected to the bridge.
The second appointment usually finishes the bridge placement, although in some cases a third appointment may be needed if the dentist is not satisfied with the fit of any of the components.
- The temporary bridge is removed.
- The permanent bridge is check against the mouth, to ensure correct spacing.
- The crowns are placed on the abutment teeth.
- The bridge is attached to the crowns, and cement is applied if the bridge is fixed.
The total treatment time for a bridge installation is usually between three and four weeks, depending on the type of bridge required and the amount of preparation needed.
Caring for your Bridge
Fixed bridges can last for a decade or more with proper care. Removable bridges normally need to be replaced more frequently. Any bridge can become unstable if the abutment teeth become damaged. Bone loss from gum disease can also affect the abutment teeth, and impair the stability of the bridge.
Patients with dental bridges should follow the home oral health care regimen prescribed by Dr. Pounds. It includes brushing at least twice a day, and using dental floss threaders or interdental cleaners to carefully clean around your bridge and the gum line. Don’t chew hard candies, foods, or ice. Tell Dr. Pounds if you notice you are grinding your teeth, and request an appointment if your bridge becomes loose or damaged.