Bridges

Bridges

This is an option for filling the space created by a missing tooth. Bridges are formed to look like the missing tooth, taking the tooth’s place in the mouth. The sides of a bridge use the two surrounding teeth for support, hence the name. A bridge replaces the missing tooth, both functionally and cosmetically. Bridge work is as much an art as it is an exact science. The materials used may be gold alloys, porcelain bonded to metal alloy, or all ceramic material. The choice of material depends on requirements for strength, wear, and/or esthetics.

It is important that a missing tooth be replaced as soon as possible for several reasons. If not treated in a timely fashion, the teeth surrounding the gap begin to shift inward, creating a negative chain of reaction. Teeth use their neighboring teeth for support, and, with even one tooth missing, they start to “fall.” As the situation worsens, the bite changes in response to the pressure, which can eventually result in problems with the entire jaw, (e.g. TMJ). The surrounding teeth deteriorate and it is just a matter of time before they, too, are lost. Gum disease becomes a serious problem, with the difficulty of treatment increasing as the neglect continues.

Q: How can losing a back tooth affect my smile?

A: Losing a back tooth will darken your overall smile, making it look smaller and narrower. Your smile will appear to stop short, and the look will be exaggerated if your missing tooth has teeth on both sides of it. Function during chewing will be reduced, and the function of many teeth can be affected by losing just one tooth. When you are missing a tooth, you compensate by chewing differently, putting pressure on different parts of your mouth. This can cause your other teeth to shift, creating gaps and spaces and may even cause fractures that result in additional tooth loss or in the need for restorations.

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