What Are Dental Bridges?
The average human mouth comes equipped with 32 teeth
, each of which is necessary in one way or another. Every tooth in your mouth plays a role in your ability to eat, speak, and maintain the proper alignment of all of your other teeth. Whether it happens by injury or extraction, if you happen to find yourself in the unfortunate situation of losing a tooth, then youll want to take steps to ensure that this doesnt negatively impact the rest of your mouth. The absence of one or more teeth can not only affect your appearance and your smile, but put unusual stress on the nearby gums that can result in gum disease. Fortunately, cosmetic dentists today are able to correct tooth loss thanks to the invention of bridges.
A dental bridge, also known as a fixed partial denture, is a device that attaches artificial teeth to adjacent natural teeth in order to fill the gap where teeth are absent. Bridges can either be fixed, which means that they are permanently attached, or removable. Fixed bridges are applied by either placing crowns on the surrounding teeth for bonding, or by bonding the artificial teeth directly to the adjacent teeth. Removable bridges, on the other hand, are fastened to the teeth with clasps or precision attachments. While removable bridges offer the benefit of easy cleaning, fixed bridges offer far more stability. Only a trained dentist will be able to determine whether a fixed bridge versus a removable bridge is right for you.
How It Works
Attaching a bridge is generally completed in a series of two or three separate dental appointments. During the initial appointment, your dentist will prepare the teeth on either side of the missing tooth by removing a portion of the enamel and dentin. Since the bridge must be constructed with precision in terms of your mouths structure, impressions of your teeth are taken and sent out to a laboratory, where the bridge is then made. The meticulousness involved in the production of the bridge helps ensure that your bite will be correctly maintained. Once your bridge is ready, it will be cemented to the adjacent natural teeth to cover the space left by the missing tooth or teeth. A false tooth is used to replace the missing tooth, while crowns are often cemented onto the surrounding natural teeth in order to provide ample support for the bridge.
While bridges are a highly effective option for treating tooth loss, it is important to follow your dentists instructions for maintenance and proper care. Youll need to commit to regular brushing and flossing in order to keep the bridge and the adjacent teeth clean. Since dental bridges rely on those surrounding teeth for support, youll want to do your part to ensure that you arent putting them or your bridge in jeopardy. And while the physical repercussions of compromising your bridge certainly arent pleasant, the fact that bridges generally arent cheap should certainly be enough to motivate you to keep up on your maintenance.
A missing tooth can end up causing you a world of trouble. Why suffer down the line when you can go to a trusted dentist and have a bridge put in to prevent problems? Remember, when it comes to bridges, youve got nothing to lose but that pesky gap in your mouth.
The information in the article is not intended to substitute for the medical expertise and advice of your healthcare provider. We encourage you to discuss any decisions about treatment or care with an appropriate healthcare provider.
by: Jack Elder
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