If you’ve lost a tooth to trauma, decay, or excessive wear and tear, you’ll appreciate just how much of an impact its absence can have. You may normally have 32 teeth, it would be fair to assume that losing just one of these wouldn’t be so bad. But the fact is, it can be.
Losing a tooth at the front of your mouth is immediately noticeable when you’re talking or smiling. This in itself is a confidence killer. But a missing tooth anywhere in your mouth can make biting or chewing a precarious artform, causing food to become easily lodged into your gums.
A loss of confidence and function isn’t all you’ll experience. An unfilled gap opens up a whole new territory for neighbouring teeth to slide into. This dental drift can then lead to gappy or misaligned smiles. So, what’s the solution?
Thankfully, there are a couple of options when it comes to replacing missing teeth. Let’s take a look at how dental bridges can be used to fill the gap.
What Are Dental Bridges?
As the name suggests, dental bridges quite literally ‘bridge’ the gap left by missing teeth. There are several different types of dental bridges; however, they all consist of a pontic which is a replacement tooth that will fill the gap.
The pontic is usually held into position with a crown placed on healthy neighbouring teeth or using porcelain, metal, resin, or plastic wings that are fixed to adjacent teeth.
Unlike dentures, dental bridges are fixed into position and cannot be removed. They look completely natural and are indistinguishable from your normal teeth and provide a good degree of functionality, allowing you to enjoy your favourite food once more.
The Benefits of Dental Bridges
Depending on where you’ve lost your tooth from, one of the biggest impacts of its absence is often on your confidence. If your self-esteem is affected, a natural looking bridge can help restore this.
A dental bridge can restore function to your teeth and help you bite and chew again. There’ll be less worry about what you can and cannot eat anymore and you can enjoy your favourite menu items without a second thought.
The presence of a prosthetic tooth will help keep neighbouring teeth and those further along the arch from slipping out of place. Without dental drifting, you won’t have to worry about any new misalignment or bite issues developing.
Finally, filling the gap with a bridge will make it easier to clean. Gaps left by missing teeth can be tricky to clean and are often the site of food debris along with the types of bacteria that cause tooth decay and gum disease. Although you’ll still need to maintain your oral hygiene to a high standard, the risks associated will be minimised.
The Types of Dental Bridges
There are several types of dental bridges, the most common are:
- Traditional bridges – This type of bridge features a pontic flanked on either side by two crowns. The crowns can either cap healthy adjacent teeth, or be anchored with dental implants.
- Cantilever bridges – In some cases, a pontic can receive support by just one crown. This type of bridge is ordinarily used when it is not possible to use the teeth on both sides of the gap.
- Maryland bridges – Resin bonded bridges include “wings” that attach the pontic to the neighbouring teeth, These wings may be made from a combination of metal, porcelain, plastic, or resin.
The type of bridge we’d recommend in your circumstances will depend on the position of the gap and the health of the adjacent teeth.
How We Build Bridges
As with every treatment or procedure at Love Teeth, we’ll always start with an initial consultation. Here, we’ll examine the area where the bridge will be placed, including any adjacent teeth that will be used for support.
We use the latest technology to get an accurate picture of the health of your teeth, gums, and jaw so that we can work out which specific type of bridge will best suit your needs.
To make sure you’re perfectly at ease and don’t experience any pain during the process, we’ll use a local anaesthetic to numb the treatment area.
If your bridge will be replacing a severely damaged tooth, we’ll extract this. Next, we’ll prepare the neighboring teeth for the placement of crowns. This is done by filing the teeth down. Don’t worry though, once the crowns are in place, these teeth will look and feel great.
Once prepared, we’ll take impressions of your teeth so that the crowns and pontics can be custom made to fit your mouth perfectly. Your bridge will then be skilfully crafted by the lab. In the meantime, we’ll place a functional and aesthetically pleasing temporary bridge.
After your bridge is back from the lab, we’ll get you back into the clinic so we can place it. The placement process is very simple. Once we’ve got it exactly where it should be, your bridge will be cemented into place before any final tweaks are made.
A couple of weeks after we’ve placed the bridge, we’ll ask you to come in for a follow-up. During this appointment, we’ll find out how the bridge is working out for you, check that it’s fitting well, and make any minor adjustments as necessary.
Although your pontic and crown are completely impervious to tooth decay, it’s still essential to keep them clean. A buildup of bacteria and food debris around your bridge can still impact on your gums, the underlying supporting teeth, and the rest of your mouth.
Take care when brushing to make sure that your bridge is cleaned well using fluoride toothpaste and dental floss. Because there is no root beneath the pontic, pay particular attention to any instructions we give you to avoid debris getting stuck under the bridge.
Bridges at Love Teeth
Dental bridges can enhance your life and rectify issues with missing teeth. Bridges are available at our Sutton, Stonecot, Cheam, and Chessignton clinics. To learn more about bridges and to find out whether they’re suitable for replacing your missing teeth, get in touch today to book an appointment.