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Fixed Partial Denture

Fixed Partial Denture

A Fixed Partial Denture (FPD), commonly known as a dental bridge, is a dental restoration that is used to replace one or more missing teeth by permanently joining an artificial tooth (or teeth) to adjacent teeth or dental implants. Unlike removable dentures that can be taken out and cleaned daily, fixed partial dentures are cemented onto existing teeth or implants, and can only be removed by a dentist.

Components of a Fixed Partial Denture

  • Pontics: These are the artificial teeth that replace the missing teeth in the dental arch.
  • Abutments: These are the supporting teeth on either side of the missing tooth gap. The abutments serve as anchors for the fixed partial denture. Abutment teeth are prepared by the dentist to support the FPD and are typically covered with crowns to provide additional strength and protection.
  • Connectors: These join the pontics to the abutments. Connectors can be rigid or non-rigid. Rigid connectors are more common and are directly fused to crowns placed over the abutment teeth.

Types of Fixed Partial Dentures

  • Traditional Bridge: This is the most common type of bridge, which involves creating a crown for the teeth on either side of the missing tooth (the abutment teeth) with a pontic in between.
  • Cantilever Bridge: Used when there are adjacent teeth on only one side of the missing tooth or teeth. This is not recommended for the back of the mouth where it can put too much force on other teeth and damage them.
  • Maryland Bridge: Also known as a resin-bonded bridge, it’s primarily used for the front teeth. It consists of a pontic that is held in place by a metal or porcelain framework. This framework is bonded onto the back of the two adjacent teeth, requiring minimal preparation of these teeth.
  • Implant-supported Bridge: Used when several adjacent teeth are missing. This involves placing dental implants into the jawbone for each missing tooth and then connecting the series of implants with a bridge. This option does not require support from surrounding teeth.

Advantages of Fixed Partial Dentures

  • Aesthetics: They restore the appearance of missing teeth, enhancing the patient’s smile and facial aesthetics.
  • Functionality: FPDs restore chewing and speaking functionality that might have been compromised by the loss of one or more teeth.
  • Protection: They help prevent the remaining teeth from shifting into the gap, maintaining proper alignment and occlusion.
  • Durability: FPDs are durable and can last many years with proper care and maintenance.

Considerations and Maintenance

  • Oral Hygiene: It is essential to maintain good oral hygiene to ensure the longevity of the FPD. Special flosses and interdental brushes are often recommended to clean around and under the pontic and abutment crowns.
  • Regular Dental Check-ups: Regular visits to the dentist are important for the maintenance of the FPD, as well as for the overall health of the mouth.
  • Eating Habits: Patients with FPDs should avoid sticky and hard foods that could damage the restoration.
In summary, fixed partial dentures offer a permanent solution to missing teeth, providing both functional and aesthetic benefits. They require careful planning and precise execution by a dental professional, as well as commitment to oral hygiene and regular dental visits by the patient, to ensure their success and longevity.

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