A bridge is a dental prosthetic that can be used to replace one or more teeth that have been lost due to decay, infection, trauma or other causes. Bridges use a metal framework to support one or more crowns (artificial teeth). The framework is supported by the teeth on either side of the gap left by the missing tooth or teeth. These supportive teeth are usually covered by crowns to prevent them from becoming damaged. Bridges can be either removable, attaching with special slips, or they can be permanently affixed using a strong dental “glue.”
Bridges require two visits. First, the teeth on either side of the gap – the supporting teeth – are prepared to receive crowns. A small portion of the teeth surfaces will be removed to provide room for the crowns so they don't impinge on neighboring teeth or extend into the gap. An impression will be made and sent to a lab where the crowns and bridge will be made. Temporary crowns may be placed on the supporting teeth to protect them. At the second visit, the temporary crowns are removed and the permanent bridge is fitted and adjusted as needed.
No, a bridge is cared for with routine brushing and flossing as well as regular trips to the dentist to ensure it remains properly attached and fits comfortably. If your bridge is permanently attached to the supporting teeth, you'll receive instructions on how to care for the gums underneath the bridge to avoid gum disease. It's also a good idea to avoid chewing on ice or hard candy to prevent damaging the bridge or crowns (as well as your own natural teeth) and to avoid very sticky foods which may become stuck in the bridgework.
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