Why is it important to replace a missing tooth? Well, it not only improves the look of your smile, but also contributes to better dental health. If you’ve lost a tooth, a bridge is one option to help provide support that may actually prevent future dental issues. After a consultation, a dental professional can help decide which option is best for you.
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What’s the Purpose of a Bridge?
Each tooth has its own important role. Some are used for biting or chewing, others give shape to your face. When one is missing, the support that your teeth provide for each other is compromised. Before long, your remaining teeth, jaw joint, and/or gums will show evidence of breakdown, leading to a variety of cosmetic and functional problems. A bridge, or “artificial tooth,” can prevent these issues.
Types of Bridges
There are three main types of bridges: traditional bridges, Maryland bonded bridges, and Cantilever bridges. Traditional bridges are the most common type and consist of metal and porcelain or ceramic. Crowns are made for the teeth on either side of the missing tooth, which hold the suspended portion of the bridge, or the pontic, in place.
Maryland Bonded Bridges
These bridges consist of plastic teeth and gums that are upheld by a metal frame. Metal wings on each side bond to your teeth to hold the bridge in place. This option is more ideal for front teeth, as it can eliminate the need to grind down the teeth that surround the missing tooth in question.
These bridges are used if there’s only one supporting tooth beside side the missing tooth. These bridges still use two crowns to anchor the artificial tooth in place, but both crowns are on the same side. Cantilever bridges are just as stable and last just as long as traditional bridges. In some cases, they may even be more aesthetically pleasing.
How Bridges Are Placed
Placing a dental bridge takes several visits. During the first visit, the teeth are prepared for the bridge, which may consist of grinding them down to create room for crowns. Impressions are taken of the teeth and gums and sent to the lab to create the bridge. Meanwhile, and a temporary bridge goes over the teeth and gums until the permanent bridge is ready.
During the second visit, the permanent bridge is placed, but not permanently secured. Several follow-up visits are scheduled so that the fit and function can be checked first. Once you have the green light and the bridge is secured, good oral care will allow you to keep your bridge for up to 15 years.
Interested to learn more about bridges and if they’re a good fit for you? Schedule a consultation today.
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