Q: What is a bridge?
A dental bridge is a false tooth,
known as a pontic, which is usually fused between two
porcelain crowns to fill in the area left by a missing
tooth. The two crowns holding it in place that are attached
onto your teeth on each side of the false tooth. This
is known as a fixed bridge. This cosmetic is used to
replace one or more missing teeth. Fixed bridges cannot
be taken out of your mouth as you might do with removable
partial dentures. Bridges can reduce your risk of gum
disease, help correct some bite issues and even improve
your speech. Bridges require your commitment to serious
oral hygiene, but can last as many ten years or more.
Q: Is it possible to have a porcelain bridge
affixed to your teeth without having any clasps or metal
Yes. If you are an appropriate
candidate, a porcelain bridge can look as natural as
(or in many cases better than) your own teeth, in color
and shape, in proportion and alignment, with no clasps
or metal appearance. Some bridges are designed with
a metal support structure or a metal lining, covered
with porcelain (porcelain-fused-to-metal or PFM). At
one point in time, most restorations were made this
way. When placed, they usually can often look opaque
or "flat" because they do not let light pass
through like a natural tooth. There can also be a tell-tail
dark band showing through the teeth or showing next
to the gum-line that is undesirable (often the darkness
invades the adjacent gum tissue as an adverse reaction).
All-porcelain bridge restorations are what we chose
to use unless there is a compelling reason otherwise.
Again, when properly seated, they are virtually as strong
or stronger than their metal predecessor. And the appearance
can be identical to a natural tooth, allowing light
to pass through (referred to as translucency).
Q: Who is a candidate for a bridge?
If you have one or more missing
teeth and have good oral hygiene practices, you should
discuss this procedure with your cosmetic dentist. If
spaces are left unfilled, they may cause the surrounding
teeth to drift out of position. Additionally, spaces
from missing teeth can cause your other teeth and your
gums to become far more susceptible to tooth decay and