Effects of Tooth LossLosing even just one tooth affects your whole life. One of the biggest effects of a missing tooth, particularly if you lose a tooth near the front of your mouth, is the impact that it has on your smile. Tooth loss can impact basic functions like proper speech and how you eat. You may develop a lisp and find it difficult to eat some of your favorite foods. Food can get trapped in the empty space, increasing your risk for cavities and gum disease.
A missing tooth can also have an impact on the alignment of your teeth. Over time, the adjacent teeth can begin to shift out of alignment. When this happens, your bite is altered. This can affect your smile, even if the missing tooth is near the back of your mouth. Crooked teeth also increase your risk for cavities, gum disease, and tooth damage. You may also be faced with issues such as bruxism and TMJ disorder.
What is a Dental Bridge?A dental bridge is a common solution for replacing a missing tooth. This type of restoration can be used to replace up to 3 consecutive missing teeth. While there are a few types of bridges, the most common one is a fixed bridge. This particular restoration consists of a replacement, or pontic, tooth that fills in the space left behind by your missing tooth. The pontic tooth has a crown on each side of it. These crowns are meant to anchor the replacement tooth into place onto the adjacent teeth, also referred to as the abutment teeth.
How is a Bridge Placed?Placing a bridge typically requires two separate appointments. At your first appointment, the abutment teeth are prepared. This process performed under a local anesthetic involves removing a portion of the enamel from each tooth. This makes them smaller, allowing the crowns to fit on them so that your bridge fits naturally and comfortably into your mouth. Next, impressions are taken.
These impressions are sent to a dental lab, where they are used to design and create your final bridge. The whole process can take about 2 weeks. Until your next appointment, a temporary bridge is placed. At your second appointment, the bridge is checked for fit and bite and then bonded into place on the abutment teeth.
Benefits of a Dental BridgeA dental bridge provides many benefits, including:
Even if you lose just one tooth, it is important that the tooth is replaced as soon as possible. For more information about dental bridges, and to find out if a bridge is a right solution for you, call Harry Albers DDS today at (707) 806-0545 to schedule your appointment.