THE FIXED BRIDGE
So you've lost a tooth ... No big deal! You can still chew pretty well, and the gap doesn't show that much, does it? Actually, the loss of even one tooth has several consequences, none of which is good for the teeth which are still in your mouth. Teeth are not set in concrete. They are attached to the jawbone by a thin membrane (the periodontal ligament) and depend on each other for stability. When one is removed, the other ones no longer have it to keep them in the proper position. These remaining teeth begin to tip and drift, searching for another tooth to lean on or bite against, and eventually, this movement will lead to decay, crooked teeth, improper bite, gum disease and possibly the loss of other teeth. If a missing tooth is replaced soon enough, the consequences can be minimized or totally avoided. Perhaps the most natural way to replace one or several teeth is by fabricating a fixed bridge. Unlike a partial denture, a fixed bridge is not removable. The replacement tooth is held in place by other teeth, which act as "anchors" (abutments). The procedure usually takes two appointments. At the first appointment, the anchor teeth are "prepared" by removing a portion of the enamel. An impression or mold is made of these teeth and a temporary bridge is made and cemented into place. All of this is accomplished while your teeth are "numb", and we expect no discomfort. At the second visit (several weeks later as the bridge is being fabricated at the laboratory), the temporary bridge is gently removed, and after checking for a precise fit, we cement the fixed bridge into position.
Will the fixed bridge look artificial?
In areas where appearance is a concern, a properly made porcelain veneer bridge is hardly distinguishable from the surrounding teeth.
Can I chew anything I want with a fixed bridge?
We don't recommend chewing ice or other such items, but you can eat virtually anything you normally would without the fear of breaking or loosening the bridge.
Since a fixed bridge is not removable can I still clean underneath the replacement bridge?
Yes, this is easily accomplished with a "floss threader". We will show you how!