A dental bridge crown (or pontic) is a custom-made false tooth or teeth, that is permanently placed between two healthy teeth, filling in the area left by a missing tooth or teeth. The bridge is held in place by porcelain crowns placed on the healthy teeth on each side of space to be filled. Bridges reduce the risk of gum disease, limit the shifting of remaining teeth, help correct some bite problems and help improve speech.
What Are Dental Crowns And Tooth Bridges ?
Both crowns and most bridges are fixed prosthetic devices. Unlike removable devices such as dentures, which you can take out and clean daily, crowns and bridges are cemented onto existing teeth or implants, and can only be removed by a dentist.
How Do Bridges Work ?
A bridge may be recommended if you're missing one or more teeth. Gaps left by missing teeth eventually cause the remaining teeth to rotate or shift into the empty spaces, resulting in a bad bite. The imbalance caused by missing teeth can also lead to gum disease and temporomandibular joint disorders.
Bridges are commonly used to replace one or more missing teeth. They span the space where the teeth are missing. Bridges are cemented to the natural teeth or implants surrounding the empty space. These teeth, called abutments, serve as anchors for the bridge. A replacement tooth, called a pontic, is attached to the crowns that cover the abutments. As with crowns, you have a choice of materials for bridges. Your dentist can help you decide which to use, based on the location of the missing tooth (or teeth), its function, aesthetic considerations and cost. Porcelain or ceramic bridges can be matched to the color of your natural teeth.
The Dental Bridge Procedure
During the first visit, your dentist examines the health of your gums and other teeth to evaluate if you are a candidate for a dental bridge. If you are a candidate for a dental bridge, you are given a local anesthetic so your dentist can prepare the teeth required to support the bridge. If the support teeth are decayed or badly broken down, your dentist may have to build them back up before they can be used as support teeth for a bridge.
Next, your dentist takes an impression of the prepared teeth with a putty-like material that is used to create a model of your teeth. Your bridge is fabricated based on this model by a skilled lab technician so that it precisely fits the prepared teeth. It is important that your restoration fit perfectly to avoid additional oral health problems such as tooth decay.
While your bridge is being fabricated, your dentist fits you with a temporary bridge so the teeth and gums can be protected from damage until your permanent bridge is ready.
To complete the dental bridge procedure, you must return to the dental office for a second visit to have the bridge fitted and cemented.
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