Replacing Missing Teeth
While you may be aware of a missing tooth’s impact on your appearance, it is also important to understand how a missing tooth impacts your dental health.
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All of your teeth play an important role in working together to speak, chew and maintain proper alignment.
When teeth are missing, it’s difficult to do these things. If you lose teeth, they should be replaced to maintain proper function of your mouth.
Fortunately, there are options for correcting tooth loss to restore your dental health and appearance. If the adjacent teeth are healthy discuss with your dentist the benefits of dental implants in order to avoid filing down healthy teeth.
A fixed bridge is ideal if the adjacent support teeth exhibit decay or are in need of crowns.
A dental bridge literally bridges the gap left by a missing tooth. A bridge is made of two crowns placed on the existing teeth on either side of the space. Using the two surrounding teeth as anchors, a false tooth (or pontic) is put in place of the missing tooth.
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A dental bridge may be necessary to prevent:
- Shifting of the teeth that can lead to bite problems (occlusion) and/or jaw problems and resultant periodontal disease.
- Damage to remaining teeth. Bridges safeguard the integrity of existing teeth and help maintain a healthy, vibrant smile.
There are two main types of dental bridges, namely:
- The Fixed Bridge is the most common type and consists of a false tooth that is attached to two crowns, which fit over the existing teeth and hold the bridge in place.
- The Maryland or Bonded Bridge is sometimes used to replace a missing front tooth. The artificial tooth is bonded to the tongue side of the adjacent teeth with a metal or ceramic retainer.
How is a dental bridge made?
This restoration usually takes two or three appointments to complete. At the first appointment Dr. Hochberg or Dr. Diora will prepare and reshape the teeth on either side of the gap.
Since the dental bridge must be fabricated very precisely to ensure correct bite and to match the opposing teeth, impressions are taken and sent to a lab where the bridge will be constructed.
Fixed bridges are typically cemented to the natural teeth next to the space left by the missing tooth. A pontic (false tooth) replaces the lost tooth. Crowns (abutments), which are cemented onto the natural teeth, provide support for the dental bridge.
What materials are used for dental bridges?
Bridges can be constructed from porcelain (ceramic) or porcelain fused to metal (gold alloys). One of the newest products is the zirconia all-ceramic bridge for superior strength and aesthetics.
How do I take care of my dental bridge?
A normal regimen of brushing and flossing will keep the bridge and surrounding teeth clean. This is of critical importance as the dental bridge relies on the neighboring teeth for support.
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Colony Square Dental Associates
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