Bridge (Fixed Partial Denture)
Dental bridges are a cosmetic dental replacement for missing teeth. The missing tooth (or teeth) is replaced with a false tooth, known as a pontic, which is between and connected to dental crowns. Unlike removable dental appliances, dental bridges are held with cement and therefore known as fixed partial dentures.
Dental bridges, dental implants, and removable dentures replace any amount of missing teeth. Dental bridges must use natural teeth or dental implants to support the pontic area. The amount of space that can be replaced with pontics depends on the integrity of the supporting, or abutment teeth.
Dental bridges can be made out of the same materials as dental crowns. Dental bridges also have a similar preparation and cementation process. (See Dental Crowns for details).
The health of a bridge depends on proper home maintenance. Here is some important cleaning information for a dental bridge:
- Daily brushing, flossing, and rinsing habits must be maintained.
- Floss cannot pass between the teeth of a dental bridge because the crowns are connected.
- Floss threaders must be used to clean any bacteria and debris from under the pontics. An air flosser or water flosser (waterpik) can be used as an alternative to flossing.
- Routine dental prophylaxis and examination. It is still possible to get cavities on the tooth surface underneath a dental bridge.
Speak to your dentist to find out how fixed partial dentures can improve your smile.