These crowns are used to anchor the oral device or bridge that is replacing the missing tooth or teeth. The two teeth with the crowns are called abutment teeth. The false replacement teeth are called pontics and can be made from a variety of different materials which can range from gold, alloys, porcelain or some combination of all these materials.
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 (TMJ) disorders.
First and foremost, the most obvious benefit of dental bridges is that they restore the look of your smile. However, there are other benefits that dental bridges provide as well. They help you to properly chew and speak by distributing the forces in your bite properly. They also help to maintain your facial shape and prevent other teeth from drifting out of position. Replacing the missing teeth in your mouth helps the other teeth in your mouth to keep their proper position. The false teeth can be supported by natural teeth or dental implants.
Bridges span the space created when teeth are missing. A bridge may be recommended if you’re missing one or more teeth..
As with crowns, you have a choice of materials for bridges. Our 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 first step in the process begins by preparing the natural teeth or implants around the missing teeth. The abutment teeth are re-contoured in preparation for the crown and impressions are made of the teeth so that the bridge and the pontics can be prepared by a dental laboratory. While the bridge is being made, a temporary replacement is worn over the exposed gum and teeth to protect them while the permanent bridge is being made. After the permanent bridge is made the temporary bridge is removed and the permanent one is put in place. Adjustments are made for comfort and fit, however, it may take multiple adjustments before the right fit is accomplished.
Dental bridges last anywhere from 5-15 years, and sometimes even longer. When a dental bridge is well cared for, it’s not unusual for it to last over ten years. Initially, you may need to eat softer foods when the dental bridge is first put in place, but replacing the missing teeth will actually make eating easier. A dental bridge may actually improve speaking as well. Brushing and flossing regularly will help keep your teeth healthy as well as protect the integrity of the bridge. The bridge is put in place using healthy teeth as anchors.