A dental bridge is a prosthetic tooth (or teeth) that attaches on one or both sides to teeth prepared with dental crowns. A fixed bridge is permanently joined onto the neighboring abutment teeth (crowned teeth) and consists of three basic units: the false tooth or teeth (called a pontic) and two abutment crowns. The style of bridge we suggest will depend upon the strength and health the abutment teeth, as well as the location of the gap in relation to the rest of your teeth. If healthy adjacent abutment teeth are not available, a surgically-implanted metal post, known as a dental implant, may offer a solid alternative. For a bridge that replaces many teeth, we may recommend a removable partial denture or implant-supported prosthesis.

Reasons for Dental Bridges

If you have lost teeth due to accident, injury, or gum disease, we can create a permanent dental bridge to restore your smile. A bridge not only fills the gap, but it also prevents repositioning of remaining teeth. It can also correct a misaligned bite, improve chewing function and speech articulation, and provide internal structure for the face to give you a more youthful appearance.

Why Replace Missing Teeth?

Teeth are necessary for the health of the gums, jaw, and other teeth as well. When a tooth is missing, other teeth may shift to the space that is left which will cause the opposing jaw line to have bite problems. This may lead to TMJ disorder and other problems such as an increased risk of decay and gum disease. In addition to these problems the jaw bone that supported the tooth begins to dissolve and becomes weak and noticeably smaller. Since these problems can affect your overall oral health, they are important to remedy as soon as possible to avoid problems in appearance, health, and nutrition.

If you have questions about crown and bridgework or any other dental prosthetic, contact our office. We will be happy to discuss the options and schedule your consultation.

Dentures and Partial Dentures

A denture is a removable replacement for missing teeth and adjacent tissues. It is made of acrylic resin, sometimes in combination with various metals. Complete dentures replace all the teeth, while a partial denture fills in the spaces created by missing teeth and prevents other teeth from changing position.

Candidates for complete dentures have lost most or all of their teeth. A partial denture is suitable for those who have some natural teeth remaining. A denture improves chewing ability and speech and provides support for facial muscles. It will greatly enhance the facial appearance and smile.

Complete or full dentures are made when all of your natural teeth are missing. You can have a full denture on your upper or lower jaw or both.

Complete dentures are called “conventional” or “immediate” according to when they are made and when they are inserted into the mouth. Immediate dentures are inserted immediately after the removal of the remaining teeth. To make this possible, the dentist takes measurements and makes the models of the patient`s jaws during a preliminary visit.

An advantage of immediate dentures is that the wearer does not have to be without teeth during the healing period. However, bones and gums can shrink over time, especially during the period of healing in the first six months after the removal of teeth. When gums shrink, immediate dentures may require rebasing or relining to fit properly. A conventional denture can then be made once the tissues have healed. Healing may take at least 6-8 weeks.

An overdenture is a removable denture that fits over a small number of remaining natural teeth or implants. The natural teeth must be prepared to provide stability and support for the denture.

Partial dentures are often a solution when several teeth are missing.

Removable partial dentures usually consist of replacement teeth attached to pink or gum-colored plastic bases, which are connected by metal or plastic framework. Removable partial dentures attach to your natural teeth with metal or plastic clasps or devices called precision attachments. Advances in dental materials now offer a metal free partial denture.  This eliminates the unsightly metal clasps and replaces them with gum or tooth colored clasps.