A missing tooth can make even the most beautiful smile, but Sunset Smiles dentist Dr. Allison Hidalgo-Gonzalez and her team can restore beauty to your smile. Cosmetic dental bridges are made of natural, tooth-colored materials. In the gifted hands of Dr. Hidalgo-Gonzalez, they can seamlessly replace a tooth lost by disease or injury.
A dental bridge is a device used to fill the space where a tooth has fallen out or been removed. A typical dental bridge consists of a pontic (a filler tooth) that is attached to two surrounding abutments (dental crowns). Once complete, this dental bridge structure is bonded into the mouth. Without the use of a dental bridge, spaces in the mouth from missing teeth can cause multiple teeth to shift, lead to occlusion (biting) and/or jaw problems and spur periodontal disease. Dental bridges safeguard the integrity of existing teeth and help maintain a healthy, vibrant smile.
If you are interested in learning more about dental bridges or any other cosmetic dentistry procedure, please contact us for more information.
Types of Dental Bridges
A cantilever dental bridge is often used when there are teeth on only one side of the span. A typical 3 unit cantilever dental bridge consists of two abutment dental crowns that are positioned next to each other on the same side of the missing tooth space. The pontic is then connected to the two dental crowns, which extend into the missing tooth space.
Another dental bridge design is a composite bond, known as a "Maryland" dental bridge. This type of dental bridge is commonly used to replace the front teeth. The pontic is attached to metal bands that are bonded to the abutment teeth, and the metal bands are hidden with a white-colored composite resin.
There are several different types of dental bridges. The first is a fixed dental bridge which consists of a filler tooth (a pontic) that is attached to two dental crowns. The dental crowns fit over the existing teeth to hold the dental bridge in place. The fixed dental bridge is the most popular bridge.
Dental Bridge Process
Dental bridges usually require two trips to the dentist's office. During the initial visit, the surrounding teeth are numbed with a local anesthetic. The dentist prepares the surrounding teeth by cleaning any plaque or decay that remains and reducing them so that the dental crowns can be fitted. The dentist makes a mold of the teeth and sends it off to a dental lab, where the customized impression is prepared. The customized mold takes one to two weeks to return to the office. In the interim, patients are fitted with a temporary dental bridge constructed of acrylic resin. When the patient returns to the dental office, the dentist removes the temporary dental bridge and replaces it with the permanent one. The dentist then adjusts the dental bridge for the proper bite and fit, and the dental bridge is permanently bonded into the mouth.
If the missing tooth space has no surrounding teeth, the dentist may decide a dental implant is the most appropriate choice. When a series of teeth are missing, the dentist may suggest a partial denture as the most effective way to maintain the structure of the jawbone.