When a permanent tooth is missing from your mouth, either because it had to be removed or was damaged in an accident, it causes more problems than just aesthetics.
It puts pressure on other teeth, makes them work harder and can increase the risk of tooth decay, gum disease and shifting or crooked teeth.
Replacing the missing tooth with dental bridges can restore the beauty of your smile and reduce the serious risks to your jaw and other teeth.
Come to our Mercer Island office near Seattle for a consultation with Dr. Brad Judy to find out the best solution for your missing tooth and whether a bridge is the solution you need.
A bridge replaces a missing tooth by filling that space with a support structure and an artificial tooth so that your smile looks as it should. Bridges may be fixed or removable. A removable dental bridge is also called a “partial” or “partial denture.” Permanent bridges are also called fixed partial dentures. A bridge is anchored by the teeth on either side of the gap by placing a crown on each of these “abutments.” Most bridges consist of three structures – the two abutments and the middle piece called a pontic.
There are four types of dental bridges that can be chosen depending on what’s going on in your mouth:
Bridges are recommended when there’s a missing tooth, or your tooth is severely decayed or broken to the extent that it’s not stable enough for a crown. You don’t want to leave a gap in your bite from a missing tooth. A gap encourages your other teeth to shift which can lead to bite problems, gum disease and even a painful and chronic temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder. Worse, a missing tooth can cause the jaw area to recede which can lead to loss of other nearby teeth and advanced tooth and gum issues that can leave you in pain and looking older than you are because of jaw collapse.
A fixed bridge can last from a decade or even longer if you take care of it properly. Twice daily brushing and flossing are important to keep the tissues and surrounding teeth healthy as well as the teeth under the crowns that support the bridge. Bridges at the back of the mouth may not last as long as those on the sides and front of the mouth because they are under strain from chewing. The longevity of a bridge depends on the stability of the teeth and jaw bone holding it in place. Dental disease can damage these so regular brushing and flossing are critical along with twice-yearly professional cleanings.
If you are missing a tooth or have a tooth so broken or decayed that it might as well be missing, you should contact us right away to protect your jaw and the health of other nearby teeth. Call (206) 232-5866 to schedule a consultation with Dr. Judy at our Mercer Island, WA dental practice to learn how a bridge can restore your smile and protect the health of your entire mouth.