Identifying the need for a Bridge:
When a patient is missing one or more teeth they may be a good candidate for a Bridge which, true to its name, bridges the gap left by a missing tooth or teeth. While there can be a cosmetic advantage to restoring the space created by a missing tooth or teeth the real advantage is on the structural integrity of the mouth, better chewing, and potentially improved speech that suffered from the gap's impairment.
Bridges are restorative work that replace the missing tooth or teeth with a custom lab made artificial tooth that usually consist of a gold or metal foundation with a porcelain exterior giving the appearance and function of a natural tooth.
Restoration by Bridge:
The Bridge restoration process is more involved than a basic restoration such as a Filling and it includes two to three appointments to complete the process, but most often is accomplished in just two appointments unless adjustments are required. The restoration process for a Bridge begins with the preparing of the natural teeth or abutments on the opposite sides of the space of the missing tooth or teeth. These abutments will serve as the bridges anchoring points and keep a consistent and natural look to the completed treatment. This will be followed by an impression, and finally the seating of a temporary Bridge at the conclusion of the first appointment.
After the conclusion of the first appointment a second appointment is scheduled for two to three weeks later while the impression is sent to the lab for the crafting of the final Bridge. During this time the temporary Bridge will serve the function of the permanent Bridge, having a likeness to the final Bridge and providing general functionality of the area that is being restored while waiting of the permanent Bridge's completion.
On the second visit the permanent Bridge will be seated and upon being assured of its exact fit and desired appearance it will be permanently cemented in the area of restoration - completing the restoration of the area that had lacked a tooth or teeth and thereby providing structural integrity, a better ability to chew, and potentially improved speech, all with the appearance of a completely natural tooth or teeth. If for some reason the bite is off or the fit is not quite right changes will be made unless they are too extensive and require further lab work - under this last possible scenario a third appointment would be scheduled and it would replicate the second appointment with the seating of the final Bridge.
During the first appointment of the restoration process the patient is usually numbed, unless they request not to be numbed or have a medical conflict with numbing materials, and the patient is afforded the use of anxiety reducing Dental Gas (a controlled mixture of medical grade Nitrous Oxide and Oxygen).
For additional information about Bridges contact us directly - we will be more than happy to assist you in your understanding and determining the best treatment option for you or your loved one.