Why do I need a bridge?
If your missing one or more teeth, you may be aware of their importance to your appearance and dental health. Your teeth work together to help you chew, speak, sing, and smile. When you lack teeth, it is difficult to do these things. Fortunately missing teeth can and should be replaced. You can restore your oral health and your smile with a fixed bridge.
What exactly is a bridge or fixed partial denture?
A bridge (also called a fixed partial denture) is a restoration, which replaces or spans the space where one or more teeth have been lost. There are two types if bridges – fixed and removable. Fixed bridges are bonded into place and can only be removed by a dentist. On the other hand, you can take out a removable bridge for cleaning. Removable bridges, while less expensive, may not be desirable as fixed bridges and are not generally as stable.
Why do I need a bridge?
Your appearance, dental health and the proper functioning of your mouth are all important reasons for wearing a bridge. A bridge helps maintain the natural shape of your face and may help support your lips and cheeks. The loss of a back tooth may cause your mouth to sink and your face to look older.
More importantly, though, your dental health may suffer when teeth are not replaced. Teeth are designed to complement each other. When a tooth is lost, the nearby teeth may tilt toward the empty space, or the teeth in the opposite jaw may move up or down toward the space. This places unusual stress on both the teeth and tissues in your mouth.
In addition, the gum tissue and the bone that hold teeth in place can break down, increasing the risk of gum disease. Teeth that have tipped are difficult to clean, making them more likely to decay. As a result, even mire teeth may be lost.
Missing teeth can also affect the way you chew and speak. Chewing on only one side may cause stress to your mouth. You also need your teeth to speak properly, since they help you make the sound many sounds needed in speech.
If you need extensive fixed bridge work, your dentist will provide treatment or refer you to prosthodontist. A prosthodontist is a specialist trained in restoring natural teeth and in replacing missing teeth.
How is a bridge attached?
A fixed bridge is commonly cemented to the natural teeth next to the space left by the missing tooth. A false tooth (called a pontic) replaces the lost tooth. The pontic is attached to the crown (restoration that covers a tooth). Crowns, which are cemented onto the natural teeth, provide support for the bridge.
Are there different types of bridges?
Yes. Implants attach artificial teeth directly into the jaw or under the gum tissue. Because they require surgery, candidates for implants should have good general health and have adequate bone to place an implant.
In some instances, a resin-bonded bridge, frequently called a “Maryland Bridge,” can be used to replace one or more missing teeth. Because the bridge is attached by a special procedure called bonding, it doesn’t require the use of crowns or extensive tooth preparation. Your dentist can determine whether this treatment method is appropriate for you.