Your teeth are important for speaking, chewing, the alignment of your remaining teeth (your bite), and your smile. A bridge is a restorative option for tooth replacement if a tooth is missing. Bridges can be fixed, removable, or implant-supported.
A fixed bridge attaches artificial teeth to adjacent natural teeth, called abutments. It can be a great option for someone who does not have adequate bone for implants or who has teeth adjacent to a missing tooth that are in need of large restorations or crowns. The term fixed means it is permanently cemented and can’t be removed. It entails preparing teeth adjacent to the space and then placing crowns on the supporting teeth joined by the replacement teeth all as one unit. The choices of materials are based upon function and esthetic. These choices will be explained to you by Dr. Hoffman or Dr. Patrick prior to fabricating a bridge. Proper preparation and placement of a bridge take several appointments. In most cases a temporary bridge can be fabricated while waiting for the final one. Maintaining hygiene around a bridge is imperative to its lifespan. Proper hygiene instructions will be given to you when the bridge is delivered.
A removable bridge is an oral appliance than can replace one or many teeth. It can be taken out and cleaned. It is usually made of acrylic and can have a metal framework for strength. It is also referred to as a removable or partial denture. It may have clasps that hook onto the remaining teeth for retention and stability.
An implant bridge is one that is supported by implants. It is not removable. Similar to a tooth- supported fixed bridge, an implant-supported bridge replaces one or more missing teeth. The number of teeth replaced per implant depends on the quality of the bone and the length or span of missing teeth. This is an excellent option for people who are missing more than two teeth in a row and who are looking for a more permanent and stable long-term solution. Most implants that remain integrated into the bone after eighteen months have very good long-term prognoses.
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