No one likes to think about loosing teeth. But no matter how good care you take of them, sometimes nature has other plans. Whether you loose a tooth through decay or accident, it can make you feel like your smile is ruined forever, especially if it’s in a prominent place in your mouth. That’s why dentists developed dental bridgework. A bridge can help you regain your smile and your confidence. But what are they, and how do they work?
Why Would I Need Bridgework?
Your dentist might recommend dental bridgework if you have lost one or more teeth. This is because while a single lost tooth might not sound like much, over time the gap it left can cause the rest of your teeth to rotate or shift into the empty space, resulting in gaps and other complications like gum disease and TMJ (temporomandibular joint disorder). This process is so slow you might not even notice it, but eventually one lost tooth could lead to a very wonky smile.
What Is A Dental Bridge?
A dental bridge is a method used to replace a missing tooth or teeth, spanning the space where the teeth are missing. The bridge is used to give the surrounding teeth support and keep them placed correctly and evenly. This is done by using the surrounding teeth as anchors, with an artificial tooth (or Pontic) attached to two crowns known as abutments. These abutments are attached to the teeth surrounding the gap through the use of dental cement applied to filed enamel. As with most permanent dental work, there are a variety of materials your bridgework can be made from, depending on the location of the missing tooth, the tooth’s function, your aesthetic preference and the condition of the surrounding teeth. Porcelain or ceramic bridges are often the most popular choice, as these are the most robust and can be matched to the colour of your natural teeth.
In order to fit your bridge your dentist will first need to reduce and file the enamel on the designated anchor teeth. They will then take an impression using dental putty to make an exact mould for your bridgework. They will also determine the correct shade for your bridge based on your natural tooth colour. Using that mould, the dentist will create your bridgework and fit it. While the bridge is being made, a temporary bridge will be put in place to prevent infection or the movement of teeth. When it’s ready, your new bridge will be cemented over your prepared teeth and secure the tooth in place.
Is A Bridge Right For Me?
If you have lost a tooth or multiple teeth, a bridge is one of the preferable options for filling the gap. However there are some situations where a dental bridge might not be suitable. For example, if the teeth surrounding the gap are perfectly healthy with no sign of decay, then an implant may be preferable. This is because a bridge requires the removal of some enamel in order to fit the bridge, so there is no need to sacrifice perfectly healthy to do this. Instead your dentist might recommend an implant, crown or other solution. Whatever the solution, it is important that the gap in your teeth is filled if you want to maintain a healthy smile. Without some form of replacement tooth, you risk not only a crooked smile, but also open yourself up to risk of disease, infection and even jaw problems.
For more information about dental bridgework, or to enquire about your dental needs, get in touch today and book your appointment.