All too often, people tend to ignore a single missing tooth, especially when that tooth is located in the back of the mouth, hidden from view. The truth is, however, that losing even one single tooth can lead to a whole host of oral health issues, which can greatly affect your quality of life. At Oasis Dental, we offer several options for replacing missing teeth, including bridges.
Consequences of Tooth Loss
Losing even one tooth has a major impact on the health of your mouth, and your quality of life. First, depending upon the location of the missing tooth, your smile could be greatly affected, which can impact your confidence. Your missing tooth can affect your ability to thoroughly chew your food, which can lead to poor digestion and malnutrition. It can affect your speech, giving you a lisp when you talk. Tooth loss also causes your jawbone to weaken in the area where the tooth was lost. In turn, this can cause your adjacent healthy teeth to shift out of their natural positions, throwing off your bite. When your bite is altered, it can cause problems such as bruxism, uneven tooth wear, jaw pain and an increased risk of developing gum disease and tooth decay.
What is a Dental Bridge?
A bridge is a restorative option used for replacing a missing tooth. It can be used to replace up to three consecutive missing teeth. The restoration literally “bridges” the gap left behind by your missing tooth. Frequently made from ceramic, it consists of your false tooth (pontic tooth) set between two dental crowns. The crowns anchor on to your healthy adjacent teeth (the abutment teeth), which hold the bridge firmly in place.
Dental Bridge Placement
Placing your bridge is similar to placing dental crowns. Before your bridge can be placed, your teeth must first be prepared. Done under a local anesthetic, this involves removing some of the enamel from each abutment tooth. This helps to create the space necessary for your bridge to fit comfortably and naturally in place. After your teeth have been prepared, we then take an impression of your mouth, which is sent to our lab. There, your bridge is designed and created. It can take up to two weeks for your restoration to be completed, so a temporary one is provided in the meantime. When your bridge is ready, we check it for fit and cement it into place.
Caring for Your Dental Bridge
Caring for your bridge is no different than caring for the rest of your natural teeth. While ceramic cannot develop cavities, it can still collect plaque and oral bacteria that can lead to gum disease. It is important that you brush your teeth, including your bridge, at least twice a day, and floss at least once every day. You should also keep regular six-month dental visits for cleanings and exams. Other preventative measures you should take include avoiding biting on anything too hard (such as ice, popcorn kernels, your fingernails) and avoiding using your teeth to open packages. All of these measures are designed to keep your mouth, your natural teeth, and your bridge, in good working order.
Benefits of a Dental Bridge
There are several benefits to bridges:
If you are missing even just one tooth, don’t ignore it. Call Oasis Dental today at (360) 836-1100 to find out if a bridge is right for you.
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