Fixed Bridges: Keep Things In Line & Look Fine

The term ‘fixed’ bridge simply means one that is permanently joined onto the neighboring ‘abutment’ teeth on either side of the toothless area.

If you’ve lost teeth due to accidents, injury, or gum disease, we can create a special permanent ‘bridge’ appliance to replace the missing teeth. Not only does a bridge fill the missing teeth space, thereby preventing repositioning of remaining teeth, but it also corrects an altered bite, improves chewing ability and speech articulation, and supports facial structures to preserve your normal appearance.

Most bridges consist of three basic units: the false tooth or teeth (called a pontic) and two Fixed Bridge by Dr. Rick Cokercrowns attached permanently to the abutment teeth.

If you’re only missing front teeth, while your neighboring abutment teeth are healthy, we might determine that a resin-bonded, or “Maryland” bridge, is your best and most economical choice. In such cases, we simply bond metal bands to the abutment teeth where they’ll be hidden from view, then fuse the pontic to those bands. This style bridge is very conservative, reducing the amount of preparation required for your adjacent teeth.

On the other hand, if you only have teeth left on one side of the span, we might have to anchor the pontic to one side over one or more natural, adjacent teeth. This arrangement is called a “cantilever” bridge.

Or, if you have no adjacent ‘anchor’ teeth available at all, Dr. Coker may recommend a surgically implanted metal post or ‘implant.’

Finally, if your span of missing teeth is quite considerable, we may recommend a removable partial denture, or implant-supported prosthesis instead.

Bridge placement and fitting is a fairly simple three step process: reduction of the abutment teeth required for anchoring; taking an impression for use in designing the metal framework and pontic, and fitting the finished bridge onto your teeth. Typically, the entire process takes around two to four weeks, depending on the style of bridge we’ve recommended. A little extra time is occasionally required to precisely match the bridge’s color shade to that of your natural teeth.

If you’re interested in learning more about dental bridges, contact our Tyler, TX dentist today at 903-581-1777.