A porcelain bridge is a multi-unit non-removable appliance that is used to replace missing teeth. Missing teeth can be a pain, for cosmetic reasons as well as practical reasons. With your teeth replaced, shifting teeth is prevented, biting pressures on your teeth is evenly distributed, and your original speech prior to extraction is restored.
What is a porcelain bridge?
A porcelain bridge is just that, a bridge! On either side of the appliance, there are two abutment crowns, which are caps that sit on top of the two teeth on either side of the missing space. In between these two abutment crowns lie one or more fake teeth, called pontics. A bridge can have multiple pontics, depending on how many consecutive teeth are missing.
The only catch is that there must be one tooth on either side of the space, to anchor the bridge down. Otherwise, another option, such as implants, must be considered. All crowns and pontics are porcelain, and a shade that matches the neighboring teeth will be chosen to give you a natural looking smile!
A two appointment process:
Porcelain Bridge Preparation
During the first appointment, a first impression is taken and will be used to make your temporary bridge. Then, just enough enamel from each of the abutment teeth are removed so that crowns can sit on them. A second, more accurate impression is then taken, which will be sent to a lab that will fabricate the permanent bridge. The shade of the permanent bridge is also decided at this appointment. Meanwhile, temporary cement will hold a temporary bridge in place, so that the prepared crowns are not exposed and sensitive while the permanent bridge is being made.
The second appointment is just like any crown delivery. The temporary bridge is removed and the abutment teeth are cleaned. Then the permanent bridge is placed, and if the bite, color, shape, and fit of the bridge is satisfactory to both you and the dentist, then it will be cemented with permanent cement. Sometimes, the dentist will temporarily cement the bridge to allow your gums to get used to the bridge. In which case, it should be observed and another appointment is required to permanently cement the bridge.
Maintaining your porcelain bridge
It is important to maintain your porcelain bridge and keep it clean. Food, debris, and bacteria can get stuck underneath the pontic tooth and above the gum line, therefore flossing not just around the abutment teeth but also under the bridge is very important. Also, it is important to remember that a bridge needs the support of the abutment teeth. Therefore the lifetime of the bridge highly depends on the health of those teeth, as well as the health of the gums around the bridge. Keep good oral hygiene and regular exams and cleanings, and no one will ever be able to tell that you were ever missing any teeth at all!