A dental bridge is one of the most popular and cost-effective ways to solve both the medical and cosmetic issues when a tooth is missing (whether due to an accident or poor dental hygiene practices).
The health implications if a tooth is missing for even a short while are significant. The natural response of the mouth is to “fill the gap” by having neighboring teeth lean towards where the tooth was. What this does is cause these other teeth to become loose themselves and that may result in their eventually either falling out or needing to be extracted. Without a way to prevent this deterioration, the individual will eventually need either a denture or a full set of dental implants.
Dentures are not anchored into the jawbone, as teeth are, and so the erosion of the jawbone from having missing teeth continues, even though they do enable the wearer to chew and speak normally. That means dentures need to be readjusted about every five years in order to fit. On the other hand, a full set of individual implants can be expensive and the process takes many months to complete the placement.
A compromise solution that can last 10-15 years with good dental hygiene practices is a dental bridge. This can also be an option when the jawbone surrounding the empty socket is not strong. A traditional bridge consists of a pontic, an artificial tooth that matches the shade of the teeth neighboring teeth, which have crowns to which it is attached. Alternatively, the pontic can be attached adhesively to the backs of the adjacent teeth. Either way, by holding the teeth on either side of the pontic in place, this prevents their loosening, which would lead to misalignment, bringing the bite back to the way it was and distributing the force of the bite for balance.
If you and our dentist agree this is the best option for your situation, we will prepare the area, such as removing some of the adjacent teeth’s enamel to enable the placement of the crowns, and take a mold to send to a top dental lab to craft the pontic.
Once you have your new bridge, it is important to not only keep brushing twice a day for two minutes and flossing at the end of the day, as well as using a dentist-approved mouthwash, but to have a dental hygienist give you a professional cleaning twice a year. She has special tools and techniques that allow her to scrape off the sticky film called plaque that forms around tiny bits of food that are not removed by brushing and flossing, which can ultimately turn into hardened tartar. Plaque and tartar can cause periodontal disease that can cause the loss of teeth.