As people age, their teeth tend to decay and weaken at an increasing pace. Fortunately, there are options for replacing lost teeth through reconstructive or restorative dentistry. A porcelain fixed bridge is a great option to replace a missing tooth or a couple of teeth.
What Is a Dental Bridge?
As with a composite resin bridge, a porcelain bridge spans the gap of a missing tooth or a couple of teeth. Porcelain crowns are placed on the healthy teeth on each side of the gap. These are the abutment teeth. The actual replacement tooth is an entire false porcelain tooth. This is called the pontic. The entire dental bridge is made from high-grade dental porcelain. These bridges are permanently fixed in place, and provide enduring strength and durability.
Why Use Porcelain?
At NW Heights Dental, we believe dental porcelain has the perfect combination of strength and appearance. Porcelain has a similar translucence to natural tooth enamel, absorbing some light and reflecting some light. Plus, porcelain is incredibly strong and highly resistant to staining.
Benefits of a porcelain bridge
Your two options for tooth replacement are bridges or dental implants. Dental implants are the superior option, but they can be more expensive and their placement requires months. Porcelain bridges are a beautiful tooth replacement option. These are reasons you’d choose a fixed porcelain bridge:
- Replace missing teeth
- Restore the cosmetic appearance of your smile
- Restore chewing and/or biting capability
- Maintain facial shape
- Prevent the adjacent teeth from moving into the gap
- Restore speaking diction
- Replace a partial, removable denture
Dangers of Untreated Missing Teeth
Some people opt to not replace a missing tooth or teeth with a bridge or dental implants. This is more than a cosmetic issue. When there is a gap in your smile, the adjacent teeth on each side of the gap tend to slide over into the gap. This creates havoc with your bite and tooth alignment.
Improving both the function and appearance of the mouth are important reasons to wear a bridge. A bridge provides support to the lower part of the face. The loss of a back tooth may result in sunken cheeks, causing the face to look considerably older.
With lost teeth, there is a risk of further dental deterioration. Problems with biting, chewing and speaking may develop. In addition, the patient may experience headaches, muscle pain and an unattractive appearance. A mouth with its full complement of teeth is essential for many daily functions. Furthermore, damaged or missing teeth may also lead to other serious dental conditions such as gum disease, infection and further tooth loss.
The Dental Bridge Procedure
The placement of a porcelain bridge at NW Heights Dental takes two appointments. During your first appointment, Dr. Smith or Dr. Hiebert prepare the abutment teeth for their porcelain crowns. This is done by shaving off a portion of the healthy tooth on all four sides and the top. This makes room for the crowns to cover the teeth all the way down to the gumline. Next, we take impressions of your bite and teeth to send to the dental lab for fabrication of your porcelain bridge. We also use these impressions to create a temporary bridge to place on your prepared teeth while awaiting your permanent bridge.
When your porcelain bridge is complete, you come back for your second appointment. We check the fit and the cosmetic match of the porcelain with your adjacent teeth. We’ll adjust the fit as needed until you’re satisfied with the bite and the fit. Then we’ll permanently cement the crowns onto your teeth and you’re ready to show the world your beautiful new smile.
Is my Porcelain Bridge Permanent?
While we can place removable porcelain bridges, we prefer permanently fixing them in place. This gives the bridge more strength than removable options. Plus, porcelain makes a prosthetic that can last for a couple decades.
How to care for Dental bridge?
Porcelain bridges don’t need any special care or attention. You simply brush and floss as you do with your other teeth. As always, it is important to practice proper oral hygiene to prevent the buildup of bacteria and plaque on the teeth and gums.
You’ll want to avoid really sticky foods such as caramels. They won’t damage the bridge, but they can place undo pressure on the cement and the prosthetic.