Teeth play an important role in your appearance and dental health, as well as in speaking, chewing, and maintaining proper alignment of other teeth. When one or more are missing, it’s difficult to do these things and your quality of life may be affected.
Tooth loss is not a normal process of aging. Missing teeth can and should be replaced to maintain proper function of your mouth. Fortunately, there are options for correcting tooth loss.
Dental Bridge Options
A bridge, one treatment option for replacing missing teeth, is an appliance that fills the gap where one or more teeth are missing. It attaches artificial teeth to adjacent natural teeth, called abutments. Fixed bridges are cemented/bonded into place and can only be removed by your dentist. They typically last 7-10 years with proper home care and good oral health.
Removable bridges, as the name implies, can be taken out and cleaned. They are attached to adjacent teeth with metal clasps or precision attachments and are much less stable than their fixed counterparts.
Why Do I Need A Bridge?
Oral functionality and appearance are important reasons for wearing a bridge. A bridge helps support your lips and cheeks. The loss of a back tooth may cause your bite to collapse and your face to look older.
Dental health is the most important reason for a bridge. Teeth were designed to complement each other. Unusual stresses are placed on the remaining teeth and other oral tissues when teeth are missing, causing a number of potentially harmful effects.
Missing teeth can affect speech clarity, too.
How Is A Bridge Attached?
Bridges usually take two or three appointments to complete. At the first appointment Dr. Dina will prepare the teeth on either side of the space, for crowns, by removing a portion of the enamel and dentin.
Since the bridge must be made very precisely to ensure correct bite and to match the opposing teeth, impressions of the teeth are taken and sent to our amazing lab where the bridge will be fabricated.
Fixed bridges are cemented to the natural teeth next to the space left by the missing tooth, to provide support to the bridge. A pontic (false tooth) replaces the lost tooth.
What Materials Are Used?
Bridges can be constructed from gold alloys, non-precious alloys, porcelain, or a combination of these materials. Porcelain is often bonded to either precious or non-precious metal.
How Do I Take Care Of My Bridge?
A strict regimen of brushing and flossing (beneath the pontic and on the sides of the bridge) will keep the bridge and surrounding teeth clean. This is of critical importance as the bridge relies on the neighboring teeth for support.