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If you’re missing a tooth, you have a lot of company. About 120 million American adults have lost at least one tooth.
Losing even one tooth increases your risk for other oral health problems, including additional tooth loss. And of course, tooth loss can dramatically affect the way you feel about your smile and your appearance in general.
Thankfully, dental bridges make it easy to replace one or several missing teeth. Just like the name implies, this device is designed to “bridge” the gap left by missing teeth, replacing those teeth so your smile and bite function are maintained.
At Brooklyn City Dental, our team of experienced providers uses the most advanced techniques and technology to provide patients with dental bridges that are comfortable, durable, and beautiful. If you’re missing a tooth (or several), here’s how to tell if a bridge is right for you.
Bridges are made up of a structural framework and one or more artificial teeth (sometimes called pontics). The bridge attaches to neighboring teeth, which are protected and strengthened with crowns.
In addition to restoring your smile and maintaining your bite balance and bite mechanics, a bridge can help prevent additional future tooth loss, too. That’s because when a tooth is missing, neighboring teeth drift into the resulting gap. As they drift, their roots weaken, significantly increasing the likelihood that they’ll eventually fall out.
By replacing missing teeth, a bridge keeps neighboring teeth in line, preventing these teeth from drifting and weakening. Plus, because your bite balance is preserved, your bridge may also reduce the risk of jaw pain and uneven tooth wear that can lead to decay, infection, or tooth fractures.
While a partial denture can be used to replace one or a few teeth, many people prefer bridges for their convenience, comfort, and security. Because a bridge is attached to the teeth on either side, you don't have to worry about it slipping out, and compared to a denture, a bridge also feels more like your natural teeth.
That said, there are situations where a bridge is not the best choice. Bridges require two healthy teeth — one on either side of the gap — to support the bridge. If you don’t have teeth that are strong enough to support the bridge or if the missing tooth is a back molar, a denture or dental implant is the way to go.
In most cases, your bridge will require two visits. The first visit is all about preparation, while the second visit is when you’ll receive your finished crown.
Your dentist begins by shaping the teeth on either side of the gap. These teeth need to be fitted for crowns, covers that protect and strengthen the teeth that will be used to support your new bridge. Shaping is necessary to make room for the crown so it fits without crowding.
Once those teeth are shaped, the dentist makes an impression of your teeth. The impression acts as a mold for your new bridge, ensuring that it fits comfortably and looks completely natural. Finally, the dentist places temporary crowns on your shaped teeth to protect them.
At the second visit, your dentist removes the temporary crowns and cleans the tooth surfaces, then adheres the permanent crowns to your prepared teeth using a strong dental cement. A final adjustment ensures the crown and bridge are secure and comfortable.
Afterward, you can care for your bridge as you care for your other teeth: with routine brushing and flossing and regular dental visits to make sure the teeth and gums surrounding the crown stay healthy. With proper care, your new bridge can last for decades.
Even a single missing tooth can cause serious oral health problems and increase your risk of future tooth loss. Getting a bridge is a time-tested way to restore your smile and preserve optimal oral health.
To learn more about bridges at Brooklyn City Dental, call 718-557-9771 or book an appointment online with our team today.