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A bridge is one option to replace a missing tooth.
What Is A Bridge?
Dental bridges are a fixed solution for replacing a missing tooth or
teeth. Unlike dentures, they cannot be removed. An artificial tooth is
held in the open space at the gum line by attaching it to teeth on either side of the missing tooth. If several teeth are missing, artificial teeth are strung together and attached to adjacent real teeth. As one would expect, the supporting real teeth need to be of good health, or else the entire bridge will collapse. If done properly, bridges are capable of with-standing normal daily stresses. Being made of porcelain makes them indistinguishable from real teeth.
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Why Replace A Missing Tooth?
There are several reasons to replace a missing tooth- the most popular being aesthetics. A smile that shows a missing tooth often sends an uncomplimentary message to others. From a dentist's standpoint though, there are greater concerns than just appearance. When a tooth is missing, it is not uncommon for the tooth above it to begin erupting (coming out of its socket) into the empty space. It can also result in nearby teeth drifting, or tipping, into the open space. Problems in occlusion (bite) can arise, making it difficult to close the mouth. Not all teeth require replacement. Dentists never recommend replacing a wisdom tooth for example. We will not recommend replacing a missing tooth that is not affecting your lifestyle.
Why A Bridge?
Bridges are usually placed when no more than 2-3 teeth are missing since longer spanning bridges are prone to collapsing. A bridge is a fixed restoration, meaning it is cemented in place and cannot be removed. It functions more like your real teeth than a partial would, but it is not as expensive as an implant is. Bridges need to be supported by nearby teeth, so those teeth need to be of sound health. Other options for replacing missing teeth are Implants, Partial, or Full Dentures. To show why a patient would choose a bridge over other options, we will briefly break-down the pros and cons of each choice.
Implants-When only 1 or 2 teeth are missing, implants are the best option. They will be the best option when it comes to functionality, esthetics, and durability. They are also the most expensive option. Implants can also be placed to provide support for dentures in certain implant-supported-denture cases.
Partial Dentures-Partial dentures are good for cases when more than 3-4 teeth are missing. Partials can be less durable, some need to be removed before eating. They are not as aesthetically pleasing as some other options. Complete dentures are for when all teeth are missing. With proper dental care, and regular dental checkups, dental bridges can last many years. Factors that determine longevity include the dental material, quality of dental work, and patient maintenance. Every component is equally important - so you need to play an active role in maintaining good oral health.