Ft. Oglethorpe patient with dental bridgesDental bridges literally bridge the gap that is created when a tooth falls out or is extracted. In addition to making eating and talking easier, bridges also help hold the remaining teeth in place and prevent them from shifting around in the mouth, which can have serious consequences.

If you have lost a tooth or been told you need a tooth extraction, Dr. Nancy Snyder can recommend the most suitable bridge option for you and guide you through the design, planning and placement process. With her help, you can enjoy a complete set of healthy, beautiful teeth.

The Importance of Replacing a Missing Tooth

A missing tooth can make chewing, biting and enunciating difficult. It can also have serious ramifications for the rest of the mouth. For example, when a tooth falls out, the nearby teeth may shift or tilt into the empty space and become more difficult to keep clean (raising the risk of problems like gum disease). The teeth in the opposite jaw can move toward the space, too. If this happens, it can throw off your bite or put stress on the teeth, wearing them down quickly; it can also put stress on the jaw joint, causing problems with the TMJ.

Replacing a missing tooth with a dental bridge restores clear speech and normal chewing and biting function. Bridges are designed to withstand normal chewing forces without cracking or breaking. They support a natural, healthy bite and can reduce the risk of problems like tooth decay, gum disease, malocclusion and TMJ disorder.

Types of Dental Bridges

A traditional dental bridge consists of an artificial tooth, called a pontic, with two crowns on either side. The crowns cover the teeth adjacent to the gap, and the pontic fits into the space.

A cantilever bridge consists of two pontics, supported by a single crown. These bridges are normally placed on the molars.
A Maryland bonded bridge attaches to the teeth adjacent to the gap with small “wings” that bond to the backs of the teeth. These wings were traditionally made of metal but nowadays are made with resin material.

Planning and Placing a Dental Bridge

Dr. Snyder usually needs two visits to plan and place a dental bridge. During the first visit, she will remove a small amount of tooth structure from the teeth receiving the crowns. She will take impressions of the teeth and the gap left by the missing tooth, and send it to the lab that fabricates the bridge. The bridge will be created to match the surrounding natural teeth in size, shape and color.

Dr. Snyder can place a provisional bridge over the prepared teeth to protect them while the final restoration is being created.

Once the permanent bridge is ready, Dr. Snyder will remove the temporary and try the final bridge on in the mouth. Any last-minute adjustments for fit can be made. Finally, she will bond it to the existing teeth and polish it.

Learn More about Dental Bridges

For more information about dental bridges, please contact Fort Oglethorpe Dental and request an appointment with Dr. Snyder.