Sometimes we might hear the term “Fixed Bridge” as a dental treatment option. We could also hear the term “Removable Bridge” or just “Bridge” and we might not have a full understanding of their meaning. We will briefly provide some general characteristics of these procedures.
The term “bridge”, as you might suppose is analogic to a bridge on a read to cross a river. In other words, it crosses through a space in the mouth. It replaces one or several missing teeth. The technical term is fixed partial prosthesis and it replaces missing teeth in a fixed manner.
When there is a small number of missing teeth in a particular area of the mouth, a way to replace them involves anchorage on neighboring teeth. These teeth are usually reduced as if they were going to receive a crown and the prosthesis that has the missing tooth attached to the crowns and it is cemented to the abutments. In this way it cannot be removed.
Other ways to replace missing teeth involve the use of a removable partial denture (or removable bridge) or dental implants. The selection of the type of restoration will depend on several factors including the size of the space, the condition of potential abutment teeth, hygiene and financial and esthetic reasons. Your dentist will guide you to choose the optimal option and he will also provide different alternatives.
Nowadays there are different materials available to construct these restorations. Some are made with metals, covered with ceramics or fully ceramic. Your dentist will also guide you in this selection.
Once a decision is made to replace one or several missing teeth with a fixed bridge, your dentist will reduce circumferentially the abutment teeth adjacent to the space. He will then take an impression or mold of your teeth and place a temporary restoration, usually made out of plastic so you could function comfortably. This impression is sent to a dental laboratory that will fabricate the restoration. The dentist will then cement the bridge definitely in your mouth and function and esthetics of the involved teeth will be restored this way.