You've undoubtedly crossed a bridge at least once in your life, but you might not have thought much about its purpose at the time. A bridge is a functional way to close the gap between one point and another. A dental bridge serves much the same purpose in your mouth: it literally "bridges" the gap created by one or more missing teeth.
That's a good thing because missing teeth can cause surrounding teeth to shift, which may change your bite or make your jaw sore. Shifting teeth create new places for dental plaque to hide, increasing your chances of needing a tooth filling or gum disease treatment.
Dental bridges serve an aesthetic purpose, allowing you to show off your beautiful smile without shame or fear that your missing tooth is what people will remember.
Unlike removable devices such as dentures, dental bridge work is cemented onto natural teeth or dental implants on either side of a missing tooth. These anchor teeth are called abutments. The replacement tooth - called a pontic - is attached to a dental crown on each abutment.
A minimum of two dental visits are required to complete dental bridge work. During the first visit, we may need to file down the abutment teeth so that the dental crown will fit over each leaving enough room in between for the replacement tooth. The second step in the dental bridge procedure is for us to take an impression. This gives a laboratory an exact mold to use when creating your bridge. We will make a temporary bridge to protect the exposed teeth and gums while the permanent version is being made.
To complete the dental bridge procedure, you'll need to return for a second appointment. We will remove your temporary and the new permanent bridge will be put in place. Placement usually involves some adjustments to get the fit just right.