Natural Looking & Feeling Tooth Replacement - Flagstaff Fixed Bridges
Every tooth is essential to optimal dental function and oral health. Many patients think having a single missing tooth isn’t a big deal. However, even one tooth missing can lead to a number of adverse oral health effects. At Flagstaff Downtown Dental, we offer a wide array of treatment options to replace a single tooth or an entire row of teeth. A fixed bridge is one of the most natural looking and feeling solutions we offer. To find out more about your tooth replacement options, contact our team today.
What is a Fixed Bridge?
A fixed bridge is a tooth replacement prosthetic that closely mimics natural tooth form and function. These replacement solutions can be used to restore one to three consecutive missing teeth. The replacement tooth or teeth are fused in a row, and connected on both sides to dental crowns. The crowns are then affixed to surrounding healthy teeth in order to provide support for the entire prosthetic. We can also attach a fixed bridge to one or more dental implant posts in order to provide optimal stability without adversely affecting healthy teeth by removing structure in order to attach the anchoring crowns.
What are Bridges Made of?
We offer fixed bridges crafted from gold, porcelain bonded to metal, zirconia, and all-ceramic. Depending on the location of missing teeth, we’ll make recommendations that provide the longest lasting and most natural looking solutions. For these reasons, we recommend porcelain bonded to metal, zirconia, or all-ceramic. To replace the large back teeth called molars, we will almost always encourage patients to use porcelain fused to metal as these restorations are able to absorb the pressures of impact during chewing. Zirconia is another cosmetically superior solution that offers strength similar to gold with an appearance closer to natural tooth structure. For front teeth or for patients who have metal allergies or sensitivities, we will likely recommend all-ceramic bridges. Unlike porcelain fused to metal restorations that darken after years of wear and tear, all-ceramic bridges retain their natural appearance. Whatever material is chosen will be of the highest quality, and we work with trustworthy dental labs that provide only the most precise restorations.
How are Bridges Placed?
Like dental crowns, fixed bridges are placed over the course of two appointments. During your initial visit, we prepare teeth, capture impressions of the bite, and place a temporary. Once our dental lab has completed your customized fixed bridge tooth replacement prosthetic, you return to exchange the temporary for a custom crafted restoration.
Why Should I Replace a Single Tooth?
Even one missing tooth can dramatically impact your ability to chew thoroughly and speak clearly. Additionally, surrounding teeth will shift to fill in the gaps in patients’ teeth. When you replace missing teeth, you ensure the overall health of your smile and maintain necessary form and function. Some of the main oral health concerns patients avoid by replacing missing teeth with fixed bridges include:
- Maintaining gum tissue volume and facial shape. Overtime, cheeks, lips, and other facial tissue sinks into the gap left by missing teeth leading to shrunken or sagging facial appearance.
- The alignment of teeth can be compromised as surrounding teeth shift to fill in the gap in the smile.
- Excess pressure is placed on surrounding teeth which can lead to excessive wear, cracks, and other damage to remaining teeth. This can require advanced dental restorations like crowns or root canals for repair.
- Patients are more prone to gum disease as bacteria can more readily access the soft tissue in the emptied socket leading to sores and infection.
- Impeded speech may also occur depending on the number and position of missing teeth.
- Inability to chew tougher foods, which may adversely impact your oral health.
How Do I Care for My Bridge?
You should brush and floss daily as you would natural teeth. However, you won’t be able to floss between the teeth that comprise a fixed bridge as they are fused together. However, you will need to use a floss threader to clean the area between your gums and the fixed bridge to prevent bacteria and plaque buildup that can lead to gum disease.