A fixed Bridge is a non-removable dental appliance that is used to “bridge” the space caused by missing teeth. There are a variety of types of fixed bridges available, but the traditional porcelain fixed bridge is the most popular. Although repair or replacement may sometimes be required, a fixed bridge will last many years with the proper oral care.
A fixed bridge is created when a pontic, or artificial tooth is fused to metal crowns. The metal crowns are designed to be attached to the front and back teeth that surround the gap for an anchoring effect. A fixed bridge can be used to fill the space left by a single tooth or multiple teeth.
Why Choose a Fixed Bridge?
Individuals often choose a fixed bridge instead of removable partial dentures because they are typically more comfortable and easier to care for. Fixed bridges can:
- “Bridge” the space left by missing teeth
- Restore a youthful appearance by maintaining facial shape
- Be cared for similarly to your natural teeth
- Help prevent existing teeth from shifting
- Restore ability to chew
- Restore speaking ability
- Restore the appearance of your smile
What to Expect When Getting a Fixed Bridge
The entire procedure typically requires two or more office visits. During the initial visit, the dentist will administer a local anesthetic to numb your teeth. Next, a small amount of tooth material is removed from the circumference of the anchoring teeth (generally about 1-2mm) to allow adequate space for the crowns. Any decay or broken fillings are removed at this time as well. A mold, or highly accurate impression of your teeth is created and sent to the dental lab. The mold is used to fabricate your new fixed bridge. Since the fabrication process can take a few weeks, you will be provided with a temporary bridge to protect your teeth while you wait.
During your next appointment, your temporary bridge is removed and the permanent fixed bridge is carefully placed. The fixed bridge is then checked in order to ensure proper fit, comfort and appearance before it is cemented into place. In some situations your dentist might temporarily place your bridge to allow you to get used to it, and it will be permanently cemented at a third appointment. You will then be provided with instructions to help you understand how to care for your new fixed bridge. Remember that proper oral hygiene and regular dental visits will help to prolong the life of your dental appliance.