About Porcelain Fixed Bridges
A dental bridge, also known as a fixed partial denture (FPD), is an excellent way to replace missing teeth. Until recently, the only option the cosmetic dentist had to restore a missing tooth or multiple missing teeth with a dental bridge was the conventional porcelain fused to metal (PFM) bridge previously described in the family dental section. Although highly effective and often quite cosmetic, the PFM bridge has three hurdles the general dentist had to contend with. First, the underlying metal framework did not allow light to pass through the restoration, resulting in “dead-looking” crowns. Secondly, the appearance of a gray line at the gumline and lastly, the large metal quantity often made the appliance heavy and uncomfortable to wear. Today, however, the advent of beautiful all-ceramic materials allows our cosmetic dentists the ability to plan and execute superior long-span all-ceramic bridges to replace multiple teeth.
Reasons for a fixed bridge include:
- Fill Space Left by Missing Teeth
- Maintain Facial Shape, Facial Height, and Lip Support
- Prevent Adjacent and Opposing Teeth from Shifting
- Restore Your Ability to Chew
- Prevent Changes in Your Speech
- Restore Your Smile
- Upgrade from a Removable Appliance, like a partial denture or flipper
There are several types of bridges. Your dentist will be happy to discuss the best options for your individual needs. All of our dentists will be sure to evaluate the bone support of the adjacent teeth, the position of the proposed bridge in the patient's mouth, the occlusion (also known as the bite), the cosmetic expectations, as well as any parafunctional habits (such as night grinding) and the number of missing teeth to be replaced before suggesting a specific bridge design. All patients are encouraged to discuss and understand the options available and the rationale for proposed treatments. All of our practices believe firmly that an educated dental patient helps the treatment to succeed. The “traditional bridge” is usually made of porcelain over a metal framework. These bridges are widely used because the metal provides improved durability and support to span the space of the missing tooth while the porcelain allows the bridge to resemble your natural teeth. This type of bridge consists of crowns that go over the anchoring teeth (abutment teeth) on either side of the missing tooth. Attached to these anchor teeth are artificial teeth, known as pontics, which fill the space and function like natural teeth.
Preparing For An All-Ceramic Bridge
In order to ensure the best possible results, our dentists will take several steps in the pre-treatment phase to help the patient visualize the case. First is the use of smile design software – this software allows the patient to visualize what the final results should look like from a patient’s photo. Second is the use of diagnostic wax-ups or mock-ups – using models of the patient's existing teeth. The final restorations are designed in wax. During this stage, the patient can evaluate the shape, length, and form of the teeth. Last is the use of lab fabricated temporaries or provisional restorations. These temporary bridges allow for immediate make-overs following the preparation of the teeth. In addition to being exceptionally strong, the dentist and the patient can truly evaluate the color of the teeth, the shape, the length, the form, and the bite before proceeding to the final results.
If you are a patient currently wearing a removable partial denture or a flipper and you hate having a removable appliance but you were unhappy with the idea of a metal bridge, talk with our staff about an all-ceramic fixed bridge.
Dental Bridges Reviews
"I had to find another dentist to start going to after years of having the same dentist, after she moved out of state. I was referred by a friend to check out Clifton Park Family Dentistry in Clifton Park. I went there and had the pleasure of meeting Dr. Cara. She is absolutely wonderful. Having to meet a new dentist and start all over again made me very anxious. Dr. Cara was so professional and very compassionate. She explained everything that would need to be done with my crown work and the way she explained things it helped relieve my anxiety. It didn’t matter if I had a lot of questions I asked, she patiently sat and explained everything to me. I’ve experienced other dentists in the past that made me feel rushed and I would miss out getting all my questions answered. I’m happy to have her as my dentist and would highly recommend her to anyone that is looking for a great dentist!"- J.S. / Yelp / May 01, 2022
"Love everyone here! They are fast, efficient, kind, helpful. The best dental establishment I've been a part of!"- A.L. / Google / May 04, 2022
"This is Leslie! Today was a great dental visit! I am a bit of a baby when it comes to dental work, especially shots... Dr. Franklin was extremely gentle and pain free. He was also meticulous in his work. The staff was all very kind. A very clean, neat and efficient practice, that I highly recommend."- R.M. / Google / May 03, 2022
"Always great to come home to the North Country. Always get great personal care at Family Dentistry. Never a wait and always feels like a family."- D.F. / Google / May 19, 2022
"Been going here for over a decade. Friendly staff, always a good experience."- T.B. / Google / Apr 27, 2022
What Is Involved In Preparing For The Bridge Procedure?
All of our dentists will agree the success of our dental treatment lies not only in the execution but in the proper planning. Diligent treatment planning and a thorough understanding of the patient’s dental health prior to starting the fixed bridge are critical to a successful outcome. Toward that end, our dentists often complete study models of your teeth prior to finalizing treatment plans for a more thorough evaluation. Many times these study models will be sent to our lab technicians so a diagnostic mock-up of the final bridge can be completed, allowing the patient the opportunity to visualize the proposed treatment and expected outcome. Lastly, our dentists will often have our technicians create custom, lab fabricated provisionals (temporaries) for immediate insertion following the bridge preparations. These custom temporaries are highly durable, allowing for improved function during the temporary phase, they are highly polished for improved healing around the gums, they are exceptionally cosmetic and give the patient the chance to evaluate the shade, form, and function of the proposed bridge prior to the permanent restoration.
Although the use of study models, diagnostic mock-ups, and custom provisional crowns are costly, our offices do not pass these charges on to our patients. It is our practice philosophy that these tools allow us to provide the patient with our very best care and therefore are essential -- not optional.
What Can I Expect During The Procedure For My New Bridge?
The procedure to prepare and deliver the bridge typically takes two visits. During the first visit, our patients are painlessly anesthetized with the latest techniques. Our educated staff will gladly review the procedure with the patient; all questions will be addressed by both staff and dentist prior to proceeding. Once numb, the anchoring teeth, on either side of the space, are prepared by removing the outer portion of enamel to allow for a crown. Next, a series of highly accurate impressions are completed and sent to our dental lab where the bridge will be fabricated. A temporary bridge will be fit to the preparations. Once the patient is happy with the fit, feel, bite and cosmetics of the new temporary bridge, it will be retained with provisional cement.
At the second visit, the temporaries will be removed and the abutments cleansed with a prescription antimicrobial rinse. The patient’s bridge will be inserted and thoroughly examined. A specific radiograph (know as a bitewing) will be completed to ensure marginal adaptation to the supporting teeth. The bite, cosmetics, tissue contour, and contacts with the adjacent teeth will be checked. Only if the bridge is 100% acceptable and the patient is pleased with the results will the bridge be permanently cemented.
Once completed, our staff will be sure to review the proper methods for brushing, flossing, and caring for your new bridge. Regular dental cleanings, along with exceptional oral hygiene, will aid in the life of your new teeth.
Dental Bridges FAQ
How is a porcelain bridge different than a traditional bridge?
While both porcelain and traditional bridges are effective ways to replace missing teeth, porcelain bridges offer a few advantages, including:
- Looks natural
- More comfortable to wear
- Doesn't have the heavy metal framework of traditional bridges, making it lighter
- Porcelain bridges are custom-modeled to look like your real teeth
How many teeth can usually be replaced with a bridge?
Most dental restorations with a bridge, both traditional and porcelain, replace up to four teeth. This limit is because replacing more than four teeth with a bridge can make it unstable in the mouth. For more than four teeth, a full denture may be recommended.
How long do porcelain dental bridges last?
A porcelain bridge can last up to 15 years before it may need to be refitted or replaced. Patients can prolong the life of their dental bridge with regular brushing and flossing paired with regular dental checkups at Saratoga Springs Family Dentistry.
How many visits does it take to place a porcelain dental bridge?
We place our porcelain dental bridges in two visits. During the first visit, the anchor teeth for the bridge will be prepared and a temporary bridge placed. When your custom-made porcelain fixed bridge is completed, you will come back to have it placed permanently in your mouth and adjusted for a comfortable fit.
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