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Dental Bridges // Dental Bridgework for Mishawaka & South Bend

A fixed bridge is an option for replacing missing teeth. It also helps to prevent teeth from shifting. An artifical tooth is connected by a crown on each side. The teeth that will be crowned have to be shaped to fit the crowns. Impressions are taken of the prepped teeth and a temporary is made while a lab creates the permanent bridge. A second appointment will be needed to deliver the permanent bridge.

Dental Bridges

Many patients suffer from the effects of one or more missing teeth. Noting the importance of properly cutting and grinding of food for overall nutritional health, it's important that teeth are joined together without gaps. Such open gaps cause undue stress on unsupported teeth, which often leads to teeth adjacent to open spaces chipping or breaking, as well as tilting into the empty spaces. In addition, teeth in the opposite jaw may also shift downwards or upwards into the open space, causing an uneven bite and placing even more stress on the joints in your jaw, as well as causing long term damage, pain and general state of discomfort after eating.


When teeth are missing, the jaw bone may begin to shrink and change the way the lips and cheeks are supported by the jawbone. Other negative impacts includes an increased risk of tooth decay and gum disease because remaining teeth may drift or tip, making the surviving teeth harder to clean harder to clean.


Dental Bridges supported by natural teeth or implants also helps to restore the ability to properly chew and speak, improving your smile, and helping to maintain the shape of your face as a result of even distribution of the forces in each bite. Dental Bridge procedures fills the gaps created by missing teeth, so that the above mentioned conditions are resolved.


Why Use Dental Bridges?

Each Dental Bridge consists two or more crowns that solidly anchor teeth on opposite sides of open gaps resulting from missing teeth. These are known as "Abutment Teeth", with one or more cosmetic crowns in between. These cosmetic crowns are known as "Pontics", which use combinations of porcelain, ceramics, alloys, gold, or other similar dental grade materials.

Following a thorough examination, Dr. Coulter will recommend the optimal dental materials to provide the best overall result.


What Types of Dental Bridges are there?

Common Dental Bridges with the placement of a crown for a tooth.  Alternatively, a Dental Implant can also be selected for either side of the missing tooth, with the Pontic placed in between. Common Dental Bridges are usually made made of either porcelain that is fused to metal or ceramics.

Another type of Dental Bridge is known as a Cantilever Bridges.  These are typically selected with adjacent teeth on only one side of the missing tooth (or teeth).  Cantilever Bridges are rarely used in the back of the mouth because the Cantilever Bridge can apply too much pressure on other teeth and cause damage to them.


A third type of Dental Bridge is known as a Resin Bonded Bridge, (also known as "Maryland Bonded Dental Bridges") which are typically made using porcelain, porcelain fused to metal, or plastic teeth and gums supported by a metal or porcelain frameworks.  This type of Dental Bridge allows for metal or porcelain "wings" to be placed on just one side of the dental bridge, which are then bonded to existing teeth.


What Steps are taken with Dental Bridge Procedures?

During the first visit with Dr. Coulter, your Abutment Teeth are prepared by recontouring teeth. This is done by removing a portion of enamel which allows adequate room for a dental crown to be put in place. Dr. Coulter next takes Dental Impressions in order to create a model from which the Dental Bridge, Pontic, and Dental Crowns to be made. Dr. Coulter will make you a temporary Dental Bridge to wear while your Dental Bridge is being made, in order to protect your exposed teeth and gums while your Dental Bridge is being made.

 During your second visit with Dr. Coulter, your temporary bridge will be removed and the new porcelain or metal Dental Bridge will be checked and adjusted to achieve a comfortable fit. In some cases, additional visits with Dr. Coulter may be needed to further adjust your Dental Bridge. If a Fixed Dental Bridge has been chosen, Dr. Coulter may temporarily cement it in place to make sure it is fitting properly, and once a satisfactory fit is achieved, Dr. Coulter will permanently cement a Fixed Dental Bridge into place.


More about Fixed Dental Bridges

A fixed Dental Bridge means that your dentist uses existing natural teeth on both sides of your missing tooth (or teeth) to help hold your bridge in place. Dental Bridge procedures typically takes more than one visit with Dr. Coulter. 

Most Dental Bridge procedures begin with Dr. Coulter preparing the teeth on both sides of your gaps, as your Dental Bridge will ultimately attach to those teeth.  Dr. Coulter wll then make an dental impression or an image of your teeth, as well as the space that needs to be treated. That information taken from the images and dental impression are then used to make the bridge.

Dr. Coulter will sometimes place a temporary bridge to protect your prepared teeth, while you wait for your permanent Dental Bridge.

When your permanent dental bridge is completed, Dr. Coulter then fits, adjusts and cements your dental bridge to your prepared teeth. This type of bridge is permanent. and cannot be taken out without Dr. Coulter's help.


What about use of a Dental Implant Supported Bridge?

Dental implants may be used to support a dental bridge. Dental Implants are posts that are surgically placed into the jaw, where the bone is used to anchor your Dental Implants in place.  One major benefit of using Dental Implants is that they don’t need support from the surrounding teeth. Another major benefit of Dental Implants can help preserve the jawbone where teeth have been lost.


What Should I expect After My Procedure?

After Dr Coulter completes you Dental Bridge procedure, eating will become much easier. It is best to eat soft foods that have been cut into small pieces, and then gradually move to harder foods.  Once you are accustomed to your new Dental Bridge, Brush your teeth twice a day and floss or use another between-the-teeth cleaner every day. Brushing and cleaning between your teeth helps remove plaque, a sticky film of bacteria that is always forming on the teeth. Always clean between your teeth and under the bridge. There are many kinds of flossers, picks, or little brushes. Your dentist will help you decide which is best for your bridge. Eat a healthy diet and see Dr. Coulter at your regularly scheduled appointments for exams and professional cleanings.

Dental Bridges can last an average of five to fifteen years, and much longer with good oral hygiene and regular checkups. It is not at all unusual for the average life span of a Fixed Dental Bridge to be well over 10 years. 

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