Crowns & Bridges
If you are missing a tooth or more than one tooth, you are likely aware of the importance of a full compliment of teeth, working together, to provide proper chewing ability as well as to add to your overall facial appearance. When you are missing teeth, it can often be difficult to speak, chew, and smile. Luckily, missing teeth can be replaced. You can restore your smile, chewing ability, and overall oral health with a fixed bridge from an experienced Dentist in Pittsburgh at our dental office which has a one of a kind, in house dental laboratory eliminating the need to send your case to an outside dental laboratory resulting in much faster turn around time and a level of customization and personalization that is second to none.
What exactly is a bridge or fixed partial denture?
A bridge (also called a fixed partial denture) is a restoration which replaces or spans the space where one or more teeth have been lost. There are two types of bridges – fixed and removable. Fixed bridges are bonded into place and can only be removed by a dentist. On the other hand, you can take out a removable bridge for cleaning. Removable bridges, while less expensive, may not be as desirable as fixed bridges and are not generally as stable.
Why do I need a bridge?
Your appearance, dental health and the proper functioning of your mouth are all important reasons for wearing a bridge. A bridge helps maintain the natural shape of your face and may help support your lips and cheeks. The loss of a back tooth may cause your mouth to sink and your face to look older.
More importantly, though, your dental health may suffer when teeth are not replaced. Teeth were designed to complement each other. When a tooth is lost, the nearby teeth may tilt toward the empty space, or the teeth in the opposite jaw may move up or down toward the space. This places unusual stress on both the teeth and tissues in your mouth.
In addition, the gum tissues and the bone that hold teeth in place can break down, increasing the risk of gum disease. Teeth that have tipped are difficult to clean, making them more likely to decay. As a result, even more teeth may be lost.
Missing teeth can also affect the way you chew and speak. Chewing on only one side may cause stress to your mouth. You also need your teeth to speak properly, since they help you make the many sounds needed in speech.
If you need extensive fixed bridge work, your dentist my refer you to a prosthodontist. A prosthodontist is a specialist trained in restoring natural teeth and in replacing missing teeth.
How is a bridge attached?
A fixed bridge is commonly cemented to the natural teeth next to the space left by the missing tooth. A false tooth (called a pontic) replaces the lost tooth. The pontic is attached to the crowns (restorations that cover a tooth). Crowns, which are cemented onto the natural teeth, provide support for the bridge.
Are there different types of bridges?
Yes. Implants attach artificial teeth directly into the jaw or under the gum tissue. Because they require surgery, candidates for implants should have good general health and have adequate bone to place an implant.
In some instances, a resin-bonded bridge, frequently called a “Maryland Bridge,” can be used to replace one or more missing teeth. Because the bridge is attached by a special procedure called bonding, it doesn’t require the use of crowns or extensive tooth preparation. Your dentist can determine whether this treatment method is appropriate for you.
What materials are used?
Dental bridges can be made from various materials including gold, precious alloys, porcelain, zirconia, or a combination of these materials. Your dentist will discuss with you which materials are best for your unique needs.
How do take care of my bridge?
It is imperative that you keep your remaining teeth in optimal health. This can be done by brushing your teeth at least twice a day and cleaning between your teeth with floss or interdental cleaning products. Proper brushing and flossing helps remove a sticky film of bacteria know as plaque. Plaque can cause dental decay and gum disease. A visit to your dentist at least twice a year is imperative to proper oral health maintenance. Remember, the success of your dental bridge depends on its foundation.
Remember, the ultimate success or failure of a fixed bridge depends on its foundation. Help keep your gums and remaining teeth healthy. Your dental health and your appearance are worth the effort!
For more information about crowns, bridges and partial dentures in Pittsburgh contact us today.