March 16th, 2020
A bridge is a replacement tooth or teeth that fill the space where one or more teeth are missing. The bridge restores your bite and helps keep the natural shape of your face.
Before you get a bridge, your dentist wants you to know more about the steps involved. He or she can advise which type of bridge is best for you.
A missing tooth is a serious matter. Teeth are made to work together. When you lose a tooth, the nearby teeth may tilt or drift into the empty space. The teeth in the opposite jaw may also shift up or down toward the space. This can affect your bite and place more stress on your teeth and jaw joints, possibly causing pain.
Teeth that have tipped or drifted are also harder to clean. This puts them at a higher risk for tooth decay and gum disease.
When a tooth is missing, the bone may shrink. If that happens, it may change the way the jawbone supports the lips and cheeks. Over time, this can make your face look older.
Position of teeth immediately, after a tooth is lost
If the tooth is not replaced, other teeth can drift out of position and change the bite.
Placing a bridge usually takes more than one dental visit. On the first visit, your dentist prepares the teeth on both sides of the gap. He or she will later attach the bridge to these teeth.
Your dentist then takes an impression or an image of your teeth and the space and sends it to a dental laboratory. Technicians at the lab make the bridge. Your dentist will place a temporary bridge to protect your prepared teeth while you are waiting for the permanent bridge.
When the permanent bridge is ready, the dentist fits, adjusts and cements the bridge to the prepared teeth. This type of bridge is permanent and cannot be taken out of your mouth without a dentist’s help.
Teeth next to the space are prepared for placement of the bridge.
The custom-made bridge is placed over the prepared teeth.
The bridge is cemented into place.
Dental implants may be used to support a bridge when several teeth are missing. Implants are posts that are surgically placed into the jaw. Over time, the bone grows around the implants to hold them in place.
A bridge is placed on implants
After the bridge is placed
Bridges are made from metal, ceramics (porcelain) or a combination of the two. Ceramics often are bonded to a metal alloy. Your dentist will talk with you about the materials that are best for you and your mouth.
A bridge can fail if the support teeth or the jawbone is damaged by dental disease. Follow these tips for good oral health:
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