Like dental implants, dental bridges are used to replace missing teeth, but they are supported by the teeth on either side called abutment teeth.
Having one or more missing teeth can have a serious effect not only on your smile, but also on your dental health. Missing teeth cause:
✓ Increased risk of periodontal disease
✓ Increased risk of tooth decay
✓ Loss of adjacent teeth
✓ Speech disorders
✓ Temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ)
Like many cosmetic dental procedures, placing bridges also serves a restorative purpose. A dental bridge will improve your ability to chew and speak as well as your smile. In a recent study published in the Journal of the American Dental Association, dental bridges were shown to dramatically reduce the risk of losing teeth that are adjacent to a missing tooth. In addition, dental bridges can help keep your jaw and face from changing shape, as they tend to do when a person has missing teeth.
The procedure of installing a dental bridge is typically completed in two visits. First, your dentist will determine if you are a good candidate for a dental bridge. If you are, your teeth will need to be prepared by reshaping or reconstructing any badly decayed or damaged areas. Afterward, your dentist will take an impression of your teeth, which is then sent off to a lab where it is cast into a mold, and give you a temporary bridge to wear. On your second visit, this mold will be fitted to your teeth, and any necessary corrections or adjustments will be made on that same visit.