A bridge is a dental device where a false tooth is inserted and held into place by crowns on either side of the false tooth. The false tooth is also known as a pontic and can be made from a variety of materials including porcelain, gold, alloys or combinations of these materials. There are three kinds of bridges. A traditional bridge involves crowns for the teeth on either side of the gap, with a pontic in between. Cantilever bridges are used when there are only teeth available to support the false tooth on one side of the gap. Maryland bonded bridges consist of plastic teeth and gums and are supported by a metal framework. The device is bonded to the surrounding teeth with metal wings.
A bridge would be necessary for patients missing a tooth or with a gap which impede their ability to speak or chew. A bridge can restore a smile, by improving the appearance and confidence of a patient. It can also support correct alignment of teeth and bite by distributing the forces in the bite, ensuring that remaining teeth do not shift out of position.
A bridge is typically installed over two visits. The supporting teeth are prepared for crowns during the first visit. This can include recontouring the teeth and making impressions of the teeth, providing a model for the bridge, pontic and crowns to be created. A temporary bridge is inserted to protect the exposed teeth and gums for the the period of time it takes to construct the permanent bridge. During the second visit, the permanent bridge will be installed, checked, and adjusted to fit correctly. Sometimes additional visits are needed to check the fit of the bridge and the bite.
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