The Nature of Dental Bridges
Dr. Christopher Baer is an experienced cosmetic dentist providing a range of dental procedures for patients in Aurora, Parker, Denver, Elizabeth and Franktown, CO. He has received specialized training beyond dental school at the Audie L. Murphy VA Hospital in San Antonio, TX.
Dr. Baer continues to update his dental knowledge with several hundred hours of continuing education and participation in courses at the Kois Center in Seattle. He also delivers lectures to fellow dentists and works with dental technologists on the development of innovative dental products. He is an expert for various general and cosmetic dental products such as dental bridges.
What is a Dental Bridge?
The dental bridge is a time-tested treatment to replace a missing tooth with an artificial one. The goal is to fill the gap created by a missing tooth, restore the cosmetic appearance, and eliminate the extra stress on the bite caused by a missing tooth. Bridges can be made of porcelain, alloys, gold, or a fusion of two materials, and are bonded onto the adjacent teeth for support.
For long-term results with a dental bridge, it is important that the surrounding teeth, gums and bone in the local area should be healthy. A bridge typically includes two dental crowns for the healthy teeth on either side of the missing tooth. These anchoring teeth are called abutments, which support an artificial tooth in their middle.
A missing tooth may appear to be a simple thing, but it can reduce the quality of life of a person. If ignored, it may lead to gum infection that can pose a threat to other healthy teeth. The natural bite, chewing ability and facial appearance of a person may be adversely affected because of a missing tooth. A dental bridge is an effective, long-term solution to this problem. Key benefits of a dental bridge include the following:
- It can restore the patient’s smile
- It can restore the ability to bite and chew
- It can restore the natural speech
- It can help distribute the biting force evenly
- It can prevent other teeth from losing their position
Dental bridges may be of three different types, and the best choice can be decided by the patient in consultation with the dentist.
Traditional Bridge: In this case, two dental crowns are fabricated for placement on either side of the missing tooth. The gap in their middle is filled with an artificial tooth called the pontic. Traditional bridges continue to be popular, and they are usually made of high strength ceramic material or porcelain fused with metal.
Cantilever Bridge: If the teeth on one side of the missing tooth are unfit to support a bridge, a cantilever bridge may be used. In case of more than one missing teeth, cantilever bridges may be used.
Maryland Bridge: This is a resin bonded bridge with plastic teeth and gums having the support of a metal framework. Metal wings on either side of the bridge are bonded to the adjacent healthy teeth.
The first step involves preparing the two abutment teeth so that they can support the pontic. The abutment teeth will be recontoured with slight removal of tooth enamel to create space for a dental crown to be placed over them. The second step is to take impressions of the teeth in order to fabricate the dental bridge, crowns and the pontic in a dental lab. Fabrication of the bridge may take a few days, during which the patient will wear a temporary bridge to protect the exposed gums and teeth. The first two steps can be completed in a single visit.
Once the fabrications are ready, the patient will have to make a second dental visit during which the temporary bridge will be removed. The permanent bridge will be adjusted to achieve a good fit. The patient may have to revisit to get the fitting of the metal framework and bite adjusted properly. Once the right fit is achieved, the bridge is cemented into place permanently.
Dental Bridges with Dr. Baer
Dr. Chris Baer provides dental bridge treatment to his patients in Aurora, Parker, Denver, Elizabeth, and Franktown, CO. As a trained cosmetic dentist, he ensures that the patient’s smile is restored and the bridge can continue to provide functionality just like a natural tooth for several years to come. Dr. Baer received his Doctorate of Dental Medicine from Oregon Health Sciences University School of Dentistry in 2004. He is a member of the American Dental Association and the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry.