What is a Dental Bridge

A dental bridge is a fixed prosthetic device that is cemented onto existing teeth or dental implants.  A dental crown or “cap” is used to cover a single damaged tooth, or to cover an implant.  A dental bridge is composed of two or more crowns and is used to restore a space from one or missing tooth.  The tooth in front and back of the missing tooth are either crowned or implanted and connected to another crown that is in the space of the missing tooth.  This dental bridge is then cemented onto the existing teeth or dental implant.

Bellevue Dental Bridge

Benefit of a Bridge

A dental bridge can improve damaged teeth, and help improve a tooth’s appearance, its alignment with other teeth, shape, and also help the overall occlusion (jaw biting relationship).  Missing teeth gaps sometimes can cause existing teeth to move and cause malocclusion (biting issue) and orthodontic issues.  A dental bridge can help restore the missing space and prevent teeth from shifting.

How does a Dental Bridge Work?

A bridge can be recommended if you are missing one or more teeth.  Because the gap from the missing teeth may cause the existing teeth to move or rotate into the missing space, the teeth movement can sometimes cause TMJ issues.

Bridges can be used to span the space of the missing teeth.  Bridges are cemented to the tooth or dental implant adjacent to the empty space; these teeth or implant is called an abutment, which act as anchor teeth for the bridge.  The replacement tooth is called a pontic, and is a crown attached to the crowns that cover the abutments.  Just like a traditional crown, a bridge can be made from different materials (ie. gold, all porcelain, or porcelain to metal).  A porcelain or ceramic dental bridge generally offers better esthetics than gold or porcelain to metal.  Your family dentist in Bellevue can help decide which material is best for you.

How is a Dental Bridge Made?

The bridge process requires the tooth to be shaped and reduced in size for the bridge to be fit properly.  After shaping the teeth, a precise impression will be taken (mold) of the newly shaped teeth and missing space.  If one of the abutments is an implant, a laboratory analog will be placed into the implant prior to the impression.  Another impression of the opposing dentition will also be taken to give the dental lab information on the occlusion (bite).  A shade will also be taken for the bridge if porcelain is chosen to be used.

The two impressions will then be sent to a dental laboratory for the dental bridge fabrication.  A temporary bridge may also be made to cover the prepared tooth/teeth until the permanent bridge arrives.  When the permanent bridge is made from the lab, the temporary bridge is removed, and the new permanent dental bridge is cemented over either the prepared teeth or implant abutment.

How long can a Dental Bridge Last?

A dental bridge can last anywhere from 7-25 years, sometimes more, sometimes less.  The longevity depends on the length of the bridge, oral hygiene, overall patient health, and occlusion.  The best thing you can do make sure the bridge has the longest level of longevity is good proper oral hygiene.  Twice a day brushing with a fluoridated toothpaste and floss are crucial to keep the bridge clean and free of dental decay.  A bridge requires its supporting abutments to have good support and good healthy gums.  Without proper bone and gum support, the dental bridge is more likely to fail.  Regular checkups and cleanings as recommended by your dental and Bellevue dental hygienist is also important.

If you have any questions about dental bridges, contact us at (425) 614-1600.

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