Gaps left by missing teeth eventually cause the remaining teeth to rotate or shift into the empty spaces, resulting in a bad bite. The imbalance caused by missing teeth can also lead to gum disease and temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders. Bridges are commonly used to replace one or more missing teeth. They span the space where the teeth are missing. Bridges are cemented to the natural teeth or implants surrounding the empty space. These teeth, called abutments, serve as anchors for the bridge. A replacement tooth, called a pontic, is attached to the crowns that cover the abutments. As with crowns, you have a choice of materials for bridges. At Akdeniz İnci Dental Clinic, our dentists can help you decide which to use, based on the location of the missing tooth (or teeth), its function, aesthetic considerations and cost. Porcelain or ceramic bridges can be matched to the color of your natural teeth. Unlike removable devices such as dentures, which you can take out and clean daily, bridges are cemented onto existing teeth or implants, and can only be removed by a dentist.
Before a bridge can be made, the tooth (or teeth) must be reduced in size so that the bridge will fit over it properly. After reducing the tooth/teeth, your dentist will take an impression to provide an exact mold for the bridge. If porcelain is to be used, your dentist will determine the correct shade for the bridge to match the color of your existing teeth. Using this impression, a dental lab then makes your bridge, in the material your dentist specifies. A temporary bridge will be put in place to cover the prepared tooth while the permanent bridge is being made. When the permanent bridge is ready, the temporary bridge is removed, and the new bridge is cemented over your prepared tooth or teeth.
Your teeth work together. If a tooth is missing, nearby teeth can move into the empty space. The teeth in your opposite jaw can also move up or down toward the space. This can cause:
- Bite problems.
- Chewing difficulties.
- Pain from the extra stress on your teeth and jaw.
- Self-consciousness about the way you look or your smile.
A typical dental bridge has:
- Abutment teeth: A dental professional places two crowns on the teeth on either side of the gap. These anchoring teeth, or supporting teeth, can be your natural teeth or dental implants.
- Pontics: This false tooth (or teeth) fills in the gap and attaches to the crowns.
Some people choose partial dentures, which are removable false teeth. You take them out to clean them. You may also be a candidate for a dental implant. An implant is surgically placed in your jaw. Our dentist can help you figure out what the best option is for you.
If you care for your bridge properly, it can last many years without complications. The bridge may fail if the surrounding teeth decay or if the cement deteriorates. If the bridge comes loose and the supporting teeth are still healthy and intact, they can be reattached with new cement.
Dental bridges can last more than 10 years with good oral hygiene and regular professional cleanings. While bridges can last a lifetime, they do sometimes come loose or fall out. The most important step you can take to ensure the longevity of your bridge is to practice good oral hygiene. A bridge can lose its support if the teeth or bone holding it in place are damaged by dental disease. Keep your gums and teeth healthy by brushing with fluoride toothpaste twice a day and flossing daily. Also see your dentist and hygienist regularly for checkups and professional cleanings.