Missing one or more of your teeth can make a big difference in your life, affecting your ability to both chew efficiently and smile with confidence. Missing teeth — particularly when you’re missing more than one — are often corrected with a bridge, also known as a fixed partial denture. At North Bend Dental Care in North Bend, Washington, Dr. Chris J. Allemand provides comprehensive restorative services, including fixed dental bridges, to patients living in the eastern suburbs of Seattle.

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What is a dental bridge?

A bridge is a restorative dental approach used to fill the space created by missing teeth. The bridge itself may be made up of one or more artificial teeth that are cemented into place using the teeth on either side for support, thereby “bridging” the gap. Bridges can be made from gold, alloys, porcelain, or a combination of these materials. There are several types of bridges available, including:

  • Implant-supported bridge: This type of bridge is fixed in place and supported on either end by dental implants in your jaw. An implant-supported bridge stimulates the underlying bone and usually lasts longer than a tooth-supported bridge, making it the sturdiest and most stable bridge available.
  • Tooth-supported bridge: This bridge is also fixed in place, but instead of being supported by implants, it’s supported by your natural teeth. Because this type of bridge doesn’t stimulate the underlying bone, the bone may deteriorate over time. A tooth-supported bridge isn’t as stable as an implant-supported bridge, which means it requires better care and maintenance.
  • Resin-bonded bridge: This type of bridge is similar to a tooth-supported bridge, but it also includes resin wings that attach to your healthy support teeth for added strength and durability.

Am I a good candidate for bridgework?

Bridgework is as much an art as it is a science, in that the technology is highly flexible and can be used to treat a wide variety of problems related to missing teeth. A patient who is missing one tooth but isn’t a suitable candidate for implants — either due to having an insufficient jaw bone or a problem with surgery — can receive a bridge instead. Although bridges generally don’t last as long as implants, they’re still incredibly durable and are custom-made to fit your mouth and match your natural teeth.

If you’re missing one or more teeth, Dr. Allemand can explain your options after a comprehensive oral exam. Whether you’re a suitable candidate for bridgework, implants, or both, he’ll tell you what you can expect with either treatment so you can make the decision that’s right for you.

How do I care for my bridge?

Although maintaining dental bridgework is actually quite simple, oral health becomes all the more important when you do have a bridge. That’s because the long-term success of your bridge depends on its foundation, so keeping your supporting teeth healthy and strong can help your bridge last as long as possible. Treat your bridge as you would your natural teeth, brushing with a non-abrasive toothpaste at least twice a day and flossing regularly. To prevent any problems with your bridgework — or stop them before they progress — continue to schedule routine cleanings and exams with Dr. Allemand.