A healthy mouth requires a full complement of teeth to function properly. A missing tooth, whether it is an anterior one affecting your smile, or a posterior one affecting your chewing, can create a variety of problems.
Conditions Affecting Healthy Mouth Function
- Loss of function as upper and lower teeth fail to meet
- Drifting of teeth causing unsightly gaps
- Food impaction leading to gum disease
- Over eruption of the opposing tooth into the missing space
- A shift in the bite putting stress on the joint leading to T.M.J. disorder
Components of Dental Bridges
A bridge consists of three basic units, a false tooth replacing the lost one and two “anchor” crowns one on either side to which it is attached. The teeth on either side of the missing space are needed to support the bridge and are called abutment teeth. The process of fabricating and fitting a bridge generally requires two appointments.
At the first appointment, the abutment teeth are shaped and prepared to accept the bridge. An accurate impression is taken and special care is taken to ensure a perfect fit and to match the natural shading of adjacent teeth. Temporary crowns are placed over the abutment teeth to protect them until the permanent bridge is ready.
At the second appointment, the temporary crowns are removed and the bridge is cemented into place. Bridges function similarly to natural teeth and can help your speech and chewing function while enhancing your smile.