What is a “Bridge”?
A bridge can be used to replace missing teeth and restore a gorgeous smile. It’s called a “bridge” because your existing teeth are used as anchor points for a “bridge” where your teeth are missing. Not only will your smile look natural and beautiful again, a bridge will also help hold your existing, natural teeth in their proper place. Without those missing teeth, your jaw structure will slowly change. Eating and talking may become difficult.
What is the Process?
The first step is for the dentist to create abutments from your existing teeth as anchor points for the bridge. Your existing teeth will be restructured to provide a place to anchor the bridge. Once the abutments are complete, a mold is taken of the entire “bridge” area (including the existing teeth). The lab will use this mold to create a custom bridge that will fit precisely in the empty space between your natural teeth. A well-constructed bridge should feel just as natural as your own teeth. The bridge will be made of crowns on either end which will fit over existing teeth and anchor the replacement tooth. In between the crowns will be the replacement tooth which is called a pontic.
You will be given a temporary bridge to wear while waiting for your custom-fabricated permanent bridge. You will definitely want to wear this to protect the abutments and the gums wear the teeth are missing. The temporary bridge will also provide a more natural look while you speak and smile. Once the permanent bridge is back at the office, the dentist will set up an appointment for you to have it placed.
While it may take a few days to feel comfortable with the bridge, in very little time it should feel like your very own teeth. While you are acclimating to the bridge, it is recommended that you eat soft foods. Once you are feeling comfortable with your bridge, you should be able to eat regular foods.