When you are missing just one tooth, it’s easy to ignore it, especially if that tooth is not one that is visible when you smile. However, even one missing tooth can have serious consequences on the health of your mouth. At National Dental Melville, one of your options for replacing a missing tooth is a dental bridge.
What Happens When You Lose a Tooth?
One missing tooth can have a major impact on your mouth. If it is visible, your smile is greatly dulled. Food can become lodged in the space, and the space is more difficult to keep clean. These both increase your risk of tooth decay and gum disease. Depending on the location of the missing tooth, you may develop a lisp when you speak. It may become more difficult to bite or chew your food. Your adjacent teeth may even shift from their natural position into the space, altering your bite and causing other serious issues.
What is a Dental Bridge?
A dental bridge is a (usually) ceramic restoration that is designed to “bridge the gap” left behind by your missing tooth. Bridges can be used to replace up to three consecutive missing teeth. The bridge consists of your replacement tooth set between two crowns. The crowns then anchor on to your adjacent healthy teeth, providing stability for the restoration.
Dental Bridge Placement
The process used to place your dental bridge is very similar to the process for placing dental crowns. Before the bridge can be placed, the adjacent teeth, also called abutment teeth, need to be prepared. This involves the removal of some of the enamel of the abutment teeth, which, in turn, will allow the restoration to fit perfectly into place amongst the rest of your teeth.
Once the teeth have been prepared, an impression of your mouth is taken. This impression is sent to our lab, where your custom bridge will be designed and then created. When it is ready (a process that can take up to two weeks), the bridge will be checked for fit and then cemented into place on the abutment teeth.
Care for Your Dental Bridge
Care for your dental bridge is no different from caring for the rest of your natural teeth. While the restorative material cannot get cavities, it can still collect plaque, tartar, and bacteria. It is essential that you continue to brush and floss as normal to keep the rest of your mouth healthy. Regular dental visits are also highly recommended, as we can check the condition of your bridge along with the rest of your mouth. Avoid chewing on anything hard, like ice or pens, and don’t use your teeth as tools to open packaging. Properly cared for, your dental bridge should last upwards of 20 years or more.
Benefits of a Dental Bridge
There are several benefits to dental bridges:
- Your smile is restored.
- The functions of your mouth (biting, chewing, speaking) are restored.
- Your digestion may improve.
- Your natural teeth are kept in their natural positions.
- You may notice an improvement in your oral health.
Even if you have lost only one tooth, replacement is critical. Call National Dental Melville today at (631) 816-2277 to find out if a dental bridge is right for you.