Conventional dental bridges replace a missing tooth or multiple missing teeth. Adjacent teeth on either side of the missing tooth gap are prepped down like we would prepare a dental crown tooth, and then an impression is taken. Most impressions taken in our office will be done as optical dental impressions. These impressions are how the dental laboratory correlates the prepped teeth to the opposing teeth and your bite to make your well-fitting dental bridge. 

Optical dental impressions are sent via email to our dental laboratory to have them custom make your dental bridge. Your dental bridge will restore function and have the natural contour of teeth as well as the proper bite relationship between your upper and lower jaws. The dental bridge permanently cements to those prepped teeth and “bridges” across the missing tooth gap to restore full function and esthetics. 

Optical dental impressions are when we use a small device to capture many pictures, which are stitched together digitally to create a 3-D model of your mouth. Our optical dental impressions will have a 3-D model of the prepared teeth as well as the opposing tooth structure, and then we take a scan of your bite to show the relationship of your upper and lower jaw to get the most accurate fit for your dental bridge. 

Temporary dental bridges are made chair side in our office. Temporaries are generally made out of acrylic and are cemented in with temporary dental cement. Temporary dental bridges protect the teeth and hold the space until our dental laboratory fabricates your permanent dental bridge. Once your permanent dental bridge is ready, you will come back to our office to remove the temporary dental bridge and permanently cement your dental bridge in place. 

Caring for your temporary dental bridge is very important. You want to avoid chewing gum, sticky foods, candy, hard food, or anything that could pull the temporary dental bridge off or break it. You want to continue flossing your temporary dental bridge, but make sure you pop your floss through the contact, but pull the floss out toward the cheek side. Caring for the area under your bridge will be shown to you using a “floss threader” to gain access to the underneath side of your temporary dental bridge with floss. 

Implant dental bridges connect between multiple implants where the bridge is cemented onto each implant to establish the correct function and esthetics. These implant-supported bridges are a permanent solution when multiple teeth are missing and the patient does not want a removable partial denture. Often a dental implant replaces a single missing tooth, but when there are multiple teeth missing teeth and single implants are not indicated for each missing tooth, we will plan two dental implants and span the missing space with an implant-supported dental bridge. 

Maryland dental bridges are used sometimes when we do not prep the teeth adjacent to the missing tooth like we would in a conventional dental bridge. Generally the missing tooth is replaced with a false tooth called a pontic tooth, which has small wing-like projections that are cemented to the back of the adjacent teeth. 

Dental bridges will be fabricated of one of these dental materials: porcelain, ceramic, zirconia, porcelain fused to metal (PFM) or solid metal. 

Caring for your dental bridge is very important to ensure it lasts a long time. It is always important to brush, floss, and maintain good oral hygiene for all your teeth including your dental bridge. In certain cases, extra attention is required for a dental bridge because it may collect food debris or excess plaque around the restoration. Often we suggest a Waterpik ® to help clean around your dental bridge or if manual dexterity makes it difficult to floss. 

Certain behaviors such as jaw clenching or bruxism (teeth grinding) may shorten the life of a dental bridge. Moreover, eating hard foods, ice or hard candy can compromise the adhesion or even damage the dental bridge.

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