All of your teeth play an important role in speaking, chewing, and maintaining proper alignment of other teeth. Tooth loss doesn't necessarily have to occur as you age, but if you do lose teeth, they must be replaced to maintain proper function of your mouth. Fortunately, there are options for correcting tooth loss.
Options for Dental Bridges
A bridge — a restoration with the purpose of replacing missing teeth — attaches artificial teeth, called pontics, to adjacent natural teeth, called abutment teeth. Bridges are either permanently attached (fixed bridges), or they can be removable.
Fixed bridges are applied by either placing crowns on the abutment teeth or by bonding the artificial teeth directly to the abutment teeth. Removable bridges are attached to the teeth with metal clasps or by precision attachments.
If you're missing one or more teeth, you may be aware of their importance to your appearance and dental health. Your teeth work together for many daily functions, including eating to speaking. With missing teeth, it can be difficult to do these things effectively and confidently. Missing teeth can and should be replaced. Fixed bridges are a great way to restore your dental health and appearance.
What Exactly is a Bridge or Fixed Partial Denture?
A bridge (fixed partial denture) is a restoration that fills the gap when a tooth is missing. Fixed bridges are bonded into place and can only be removed by a dental professional. Removable bridges, as the name implies, can be taken out and cleaned. Fixed bridges offer more stability than their removable counterparts.
Why Do I Need to Replace Missing Teeth?
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 mouth to sink 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 gums and other oral tissues when teeth are missing, causing a number of potentially harmful disorders.
Increased risk of gum disease has proven to be one of the worst side effects of missing teeth and can be minimized with a bridge.
Missing teeth can cause speech disorders as they are used to make many of the sounds we use to speak clearly.
While bridges are a great option for restoring the look and function of a missing tooth, maintaining good oral hygiene around a bridge is of utmost importance. As with natural teeth, not keeping a bridge and the teeth supporting them clean on a daily basis poses the risk of developing problems including bone loss and decay.
Preparation for a fixed bridge includes preparing teeth on both sides of the edentulous (toothless) space for crowns that will support a pontic (fake tooth). In many cases, the teeth on either side of the space are healthy teeth that have never had any dental treatment. If this is the case, we may recommend other options for replacement, including dental implants, in the attempt to preserve these previously untouched teeth. If you are missing teeth and are interested in replacing them, our dentists will review your individual case, explain your options, and make recommendations based on what is best for you and your health.