THE BRIDGE – RESTORING HARMONY
Teeth can be lost by accident, decay or bone loss. When one or more teeth are missing, the remaining teeth drift out of position, placing stress on adjacent tissues and teeth. This can lead to cavities, gum disease and eventually loss of surrounding teeth. Eating, speaking and chewing may become more difficult.
A bridge is a replacement tooth that is supported and attached by a crown on either side of the space. The two side teeth (anchor teeth) are prepared to provide support for the bridge and a false tooth is placed in the space.
A bridge can include 2 or more teeth in its span. It is a non-removable appliance created to replace a patient’s original dentition prior to tooth loss.
A bridge preparation normally takes two appointments. At the first appointment (approximately 1.5 hours) the teeth are prepared to accept crowns and impressions are taken. At the end of the first appointment (approximately 45 minutes and 2 – 3 weeks later) the bridge is tried in for fit, shape and color. The bite is adjusted and if all is satisfactory the bridge is cemented to the teeth.
The life expectancy of a bridge is 5 to 10 years. This is directly proportional to problems with gum tissues and the danger of decay. The patients’ maintenance (flossing, mouth rinse and brushing with fluoridated toothpaste) as well as a regularly scheduled prophylaxis every 4 to 6 months is essential for the success of a bridge.
When a tooth is determined to be hopeless and must be extracted the decision to replace that tooth immediately can be made. This procedure will normally require 3 appointments. At the first appointment both the extraction and bridge preparation are done at the same time. At the end of the first appointment a temporary bridge is placed. To insure proper healing, this temporary must be worn at least 6 – 8 weeks. At the second appointment ( 1 hour, 6 – 8 weeks later) the temporary bridge is removed, the teeth are reprepared, impressions taken and the temporary is re-cemented. At the third appointment (45 minutes – 2 weeks later) the final bridge is cemented to the teeth.
Marc S. Globerman, D.D.S.
7439 Middlebelt Road
West Bloomfield, Michigan 48322