Porcelain Fixed Bridges
A porcelain fixed bridge is a device used to fill the space where a tooth once was. A typical bridge that replaces one missing tooth consists of a fake tooth (pontic) hung between two crowns placed on the teeth on either side of the space. It is cemented in place and is not removed. You brush and clean around it like your natural teeth. Without a bridge, gaps in the mouth where natural teeth are missing can cause multiple teeth to shift, biting and/or jaw problems, and periodontal disease. Bridges safeguard the integrity of existing teeth and help maintain a healthy, vibrant smile.
Creating Porcelain Fixed Bridges
Porcelain fixed bridges usually require two trips to the dentist’s office. Following are the steps typically involved in the first visit:
- The surrounding teeth are numbed with a local anesthetic.
- Dr. Fienman will prepare the surrounding teeth by cleaning any plaque or decay that remains and reducing them so that the crowns can be fitted.
- Dr. Fienman makes a mold of the teeth or takes a digital scan of the teeth. This information is sent to the local Michigan dental lab where they will construct your new bridge.
- You leave the office with a temporary bridge in place to protect your teeth and keep them from shifting until your final bridge is returned from the lab for cementation.
The second visit is relatively brief and usually requires no anesthetic at all. At that time, we will remove the temporary bridge and fit your final bridge. We will then make any necessary adjustments and cement the dental bridge in place so you may return to eating normally by the end of the day.
If the missing tooth space has no surrounding teeth, Dr. Fienman may recommend a dental implant as the most appropriate method of treatment. Our first thought when replacing teeth is always a dental implant.
Proper Dental Bridge Maintenance
It is important to remember that your natural teeth hold up the porcelain-fixed bridge. The natural teeth underneath can still get cavities or require root canal therapy, and you may still end up with gum disease for related or unrelated reasons.
There is more maintenance involved with a bridge because the pontic and crowns are constructed as a single piece. Special floss and other devices are often necessary to clean underneath the teeth and maintain strong, healthy gums. With proper dental care, porcelain-fixed bridges can last for years.