A bridge is a dental appliance that replaces one or more natural missing teeth, thereby “bridging” the space between two teeth. Fixed bridges are cemented into place next to the “abutment” teeth- -the surrounding teeth on either side of the space, or “span”.
Who should get a bridge?
If you are missing any teeth and are committed to maintaining good oral hygiene practices, you may be a good candidate for a bridge. A bridge is the most natural choice to fill the space in your mouth left by missing teeth. If left unfilled, this space can cause the surrounding teeth to drift out of position and can cause teeth and gums to become more susceptible to tooth decay and gum disease that can cause further tooth loss. Fixed bridges not only correct an altered bite, improve your chewing ability and speech, but they also safeguard your appearance by preventing the collapse of your facial features that can cause premature wrinkles and age lines.
How do I care for a bridge?
With a bridge, it is more important than ever to brush, floss and see your dentist regularly. If you do not control the buildup of food debris and plaque-the sticky film of bacteria formed from food acids-your teeth and gums can become infected, requiring further treatment and resulting in possible loss of the bridge. Your dentist may also recommend using floss threaders that help remove bacteria from hard to reach spaces between the bridge and adjacent teeth and gums. If you maintain optimal oral hygiene care, you can expect your fixed bridge to last as many as 8-10 years, or even longer.