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.
"I was able to get information from Chanel regarding scheduling of appointments and insurance coverage. I look forward to working with the team and Chanel very shortly."- C.K. / Google / Oct 21, 2021
"Professional & friendly staff! Love it there! �"- E.S. / Facebook / Mar 27, 2021
"Great care provided by the dental hygienist, a pro. The dentist is very good. I do worry that after 18 years with the same dentist, I am learning I needed a cavity refilled and now hearing I may need a crown... I may get a second opinion before any further work there. He may be right, but my old dentist suggested when I saw him last year - both were not on the table for discussion..."- T.E. / Google / Jul 26, 2021
"Thank you to Dr. Dodd and staff for their amazing customer service! Chanel has been very helpful with all my appointments and scheduling! Highly recommend!"- C.G. / Google / Oct 20, 2021
"Saratoga Springs Family Dentistry is the best around! Dr. Walsh is great and has a great sense of humor. Brooke is super friendly and fun and makes the experience super easy. The front desk personnel is great especially Doug. He is super attentive and makes sure that everything is all set before you go and has been explained to you. Best dental office around!!"- J.H. / Google / Oct 20, 2021
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.
Are Dental Exams the Same as Dental Cleanings?
Want healthy teeth? Now you can attend regular dental exams and teeth cleanings at our office. We can review the processes in detail here.Read
Do You Feel Like Your Smile is Hopeless?
Learn how you change your smile for the better at Saratoga Springs Family Dentistry.Read