Dental bridges are permanently implanted synthetic teeth that fill the spaces in the mouth where two or more teeth are missing in sequence. Bridges differ from crowns and dentures because they are permanent and cover a wide space between teeth.
Bridges serve a unique purpose that other dental repairs cannot. A bridge will restore the natural look and feel of teeth to a patient who has lost more than one. A bridge is also a single unit, giving it superior strength. The benefit of having a bridge implanted is that it will help to facilitate the normal functioning of the mouth, where the gap in teeth previously may have been hindering it.
The procedure for receiving a dental bridge involves two steps. In the first step, the dentist will clean the teeth that are immediately next to the open space where teeth are missing. These teeth will be cleaned, have a layer of enamel removed so that the bridge can rest on top of them, and possibly even have the nerves and other tissue inside cleared out so bacteria cannot enter and cause complications later. A mold of the teeth and gums is taken at this time.
The second step occurs after the dentist has sent the mold out to a manufacturer who will create a custom bridge for the patient. The bridge may be made of any number of materials, but the most popular are gold, porcelain and dental resins. Once the bridge comes back to the dentist, it is installed permanently with dental cement.
After the procedure is completed, the patient should expect to not have full use of their mouth or teeth for anywhere from one to three weeks. During this time, food should be cut into very small pieces and the mouth should be kept clean. The patient may also experience heightened sensitivity to the temperature of food. The procedure does not affect the rest of the body, though, and normal activities can be resumed the next day.