Bridges

A fixed dental bridge or fixed prosthodontic denture (FPD) is a dental restoration that replaces at least one or more missing teeth. As a single unit restoration, the FPD involves the teeth adjacent to the edentulous (toothless) area. These teeth, called the abutments, are the primary sources of support for the bridge, and require crowns, which are strongly connected to the restoration (the pontic) replacing the missing tooth/teeth. To further illustrate, imagine you are missing your lower right first molar (tooth 30), and you have made the decision with your dentist that you would like to replace this space with a fixed bridge. Teeth 29 and 31 (adjacent to the space) will need to be “prepared” for abutment crowns. On the delivery day, your three-unit (three crowns: 29-30-31) bridge will be permanently cemented as one unit.

Advantages:
– Improved masticatory (chewing) function
– Filled void prevents adjacent and opposing teeth from drifting into the space
– Improved esthetics
– Better distribution of biting forces

Disadvantages:
– Oral hygiene is more difficult to obtain around the abutment crowns
– Cost to replace missing teeth more than doubles due to the need for abutment crowns
– The need for prepping/cutting abutment crowns which are otherwise perfectly healthy teeth
– Esthetics may not be ideal, especially with bridges in the anterior or esthetic “zone”

It is important to replace missing teeth to avoid strain on the teeth on ether side and to prevent a change in the way your upper and lower teeth bite together. If the gap is not filled, food can get packed into the gap leading to tooth decay and gum disease. Talk to your dentist today to find out if a bridge is the right option for you.

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