While losing a tooth is no fun, it’s not that uncommon for many people to lose a tooth or two –or three – as they age, especially if they were not vigorous about caring for their teeth when they were younger. The good news is, a dental bridge is a relatively simple way to replace a lost tooth, and today’s bridges look just like your natural teeth.
A bridge is a type of permanent partial denture that is actually attached to the teeth that are located on either side of the gap made by the missing tooth. In addition to a false tooth, a bridge also has two crowns which slip over the tops of the adjacent teeth like snug-fitting caps. Crowns are attached using special dental adhesive to prevent the bridge from moving.
Especially when a tooth is lost in the back of the mouth where it can’t easily be seen, many men and women may be tempted to leave the space and avoid having a bridge made. But letting that space remain vacant has some very real risks to the rest of your mouth. Teeth have a natural desire to “spread out” in the space surrounding them; they depend on neighboring teeth to keep them in line. Once a tooth is lost, the teeth on either side will begin to shift, which can cause them to weaken and, eventually, fall out. Shifting can also have a significant impact on your bite pattern and your ability to chew, and it can even change the shape of your mouth and face.
Once your bridge is in place, you’ll be surprised how comfortable and natural it feels, and how easy it is to make sure your smile remains as healthy and beautiful as it can be.