How To Build A Bridge Back To Your Smile
What does it take to build a quality bridge?
First, we would agree that we need a gap or a space to be spanned.
Second, we need suitable materials that can stand up to the daily load that the bridge will need to handle.
Third, we need the knowledge to assemble the materials to maximize their strength.
Fourth, the bridge needs to look as close as possible to your natural teeth.
We probably should have clarified that we are discussing dental bridges, not ones for transportation. Nevertheless, if you should need to replace missing teeth, a dental bridge from any Sunrise Dental office — in Chapel Hill, Durham, Raleigh, or Cary — can fill in the empty space and recreate your smile.
For our purposes, we could say that dental crowns are the building blocks of dental bridges. Crowns are merged together to form a bridge. The number of crowns needed depends on how many teeth you have lost and the type of bridge you receive.
The material used to make a bridge affects its strength and its appearance as well.
Our crowns and our dental bridges are made of zirconium. To help you understand how strong zirconium is, members of our staff have seen demonstrations in which zirconium crowns have been pounded into a piece of wood.
In other words, it strong enough to handle pretty much anything you intend to bite and chew.
Some offices use crowns made of porcelain that has been fused to metal. We decided to stick with solid zirconium for our patients. In our experience, we have seen porcelain-in-metal crowns and bridge are more prone to chip and crack.
When we make a dental bridge for a patient, we want it to stay in place and stay whole for as long as it possibly can.
Making A Bridge
Before we are going to make a bridge for you, we will want to consider your options. If you have a missing or lost tooth, then you have two choices.
The first would be to get a dental crown placed on a dental implant. (We wrote about the uses for dental crowns in our previous post.) The second choice would be getting a traditional dental bridge.
Coincidentally, this has some steps that are similar to what we do to prepare teeth to receive dental crowns.
If you have a missing tooth, then we don’t have the bottom half of the tooth that we can use to support a dental crown. Instead, we use the teeth adjacent to the empty space to provide the support for the bridge.
We reshape both of those teeth to form abutments. This is the same thing we do for a dental crown. The difference is that we are normally reshaping teeth that have already been damaged in some way to prepare them for a crown.
By now, you may have done the math in your head. A dental bridge to replace a single tooth, would have three crowns. The crowns on the ends are known as abutment crowns, and they are bonded to the teeth on either side of your gap. The crown in the middle is called a pontic.
In this case, the two teeth on either side are essentially providing the support for three “teeth.”
From there, the process is fairly similar. A person missing two teeth would have a dental bridge made of four crowns. A person missing three teeth would get a five-crown bridge.
You can also see that as the bridges get bigger, the supporting teeth are put under more of a strain.
There is a way to avoid this issue, however.
Thanks to the invention and improvement of dental implants, we have another way of supporting a dental bridge.
Implants replace the roots of your missing teeth. They are embedded in your jawbone to provide support and stability for your dental bridge. As a result, we don’t have to do anything to the adjacent teeth when we make an implant-supported bridge.
To compare them with transportation bridges, a traditional dental bridge would be like a suspension bridge, where an implant-supported bridge would be like a bridge with a support structure underneath it.
Let Us Build A Bridge For You
You can rebuild your smile and restore the function of your missing teeth with a dental bridge from any Sunrise Dental office. To learn more, contact any of our offices online or by phone to make an appointment for a consultation. We can discuss your options to help you determine which kind of bridge is best for you.