When you lose your teeth, your whole life is affected. Even the loss of one tooth can have a major impact. Many people think that losing a single tooth is not a big deal because it is not seen. While your appearance is often a major concern when tooth loss occurs, it is not the only one that arises. Losing even just one tooth can affect your ability to eat. It becomes more difficult to thoroughly chew your food, which can impact the digestive process. Food can get stuck in the space. This greatly increases your risk for gum disease and cavities. Over time, the teeth on either side of the gap can begin to shift out of natural alignment and throw off your bite. This can lead to several other issues. You might not think one missing tooth is a big deal, but it is important to have any missing teeth replaced as soon as possible. At Shenandoah Family Dentistry, we offer several options for replacing missing teeth, including dental bridges.
A dental bridge is a dental restoration that is used to replace a missing tooth. It can be used to replace up to three consecutive missing teeth. There are several types of bridges, including Maryland bridges, cantilever bridges, and fixed bridges. A fixed bridge is the most common type used. Typically made from ceramic, this restoration consists of a replacement tooth, or teeth, with a dental crown on each side. The replacement tooth sits in the space. The crowns anchor the restoration onto the healthy teeth on each side of the gap, the abutment teeth, effectively securing it in place.
There are several benefits to using a dental bridge to replace a missing tooth:
• The bridge restores the functions of your tooth, including chewing and controlling airflow for speech.
• It helps to improve your oral health, and your nutrition.
• It helps to hold your healthy teeth in proper alignment, preventing those teeth from shifting.
• Depending upon the location of your missing tooth, or teeth, the bridge can help to restore the appearance of your smile, and give you back your confidence.
A dental bridge is placed in a process similar to how dental crowns are placed. It usually takes two appointments, with about a two-week wait in between, for the process to be completed. During your first appointment, we prepare your abutment teeth and take impressions. Preparing your teeth is done to reduce the abutment teeth in size so that the bridge will fit comfortably and naturally in amongst the rest of your teeth. This is done under a local anesthetic, so you will not feel any discomfort. After the teeth are prepared, we then take impressions of your mouth. The impressions are sent to the dental lab, where the bridge will be made.
Because it can take up to two weeks for the final restoration to be completed and sent back, we will provide you with a temporary bridge to wear in the meantime. Once your bridge is ready, you return for your second appointment. During this appointment, we check the bridge to make sure that it fits properly, it matches the color of the rest of your teeth, and it is comfortable. If everything looks and feels good, we cement it into place.
If you have suffered tooth loss, even just a single tooth, it is important to have them replaced. Call Shenandoah Family Dentistry today to schedule your consultation and find out if a dental bridge is right for you at (540) 667-8731