Dental Bridges – Filling in Toothless Areas

How healthy your gums and teeth are is the result of how you cared for them in the past; keeping them healthy requires regular brushing and eating teeth-whitening food plus regular visits to your dentist. But what with regard to gums that not are so healthy and gaps due to missing tooth or teeth? This is where a cosmetic dentist can help.

Cosmetic dentistry is dental work aimed at improving the appearance of you gums and teeth. Procedures included in this area of dentistry include:

  • Making teeth whiter through bleaching;
  • Gum depigmentation;
  • Addition of dental materials to teeth or gums, such as porcelain veneers, gum grafts or crowns;
  • Reshaping of teeth which do not match the others;
  • Removal of tooth structure or gums like in enameloplasty and gingivectomy; and,
  • Closing of gaps between teeth.

One procedure that is most beneficial to those with missing teeth is dental bridges – these are actually false teeth that are fused between a couple of porcelain crowns, filling in toothless area. Also known as pontics, dental bridges are used to replace missing tooth/teeth. Dental bridges also help lessen threats of gum disease and improve speech. These can last ten years or more, depending on the care given to them.

Bridges fill places where a tooth previously was and they are to prevent shifting of the teeth, which can cause bite and jaw problems (occlusions) and periodontal disease. Bridges can protect existing teeth’s integrity to keep a healthy smile.

There are three types of Bridges, namely:

  1. Fixed Bridge. This is the most popular type of bridge. In this procedure, a filler tooth is attached to two crowns over existing teeth to hold it in place.
  2. “Maryland” Bridge. This type of bridge is meant to replace missing front teeth. A filler is attached to metal bands which are bonded to the abutment teeth; these metal bands match existing tooth color with a composite resin.
  3. Cantilever Bridge. This type of bridge is used when there are only teeth on one side of the span. A three-unit cantilever bridge has 2 crowns next to each other on the same side as the missing tooth. The filler tooth connects to the crowned teeth.

A bridge may be done directly in a patient’s mouth or out-of-the mouth. A bridge can be made from gold, porcelain or porcelain-covered metal; it is made to fit a patient’s mouth naturally, casting an appearance of a complete set of teeth.

According to the Oral Health Foundation, your appearance is one reason why you should replace missing teeth. Another is that the gap left by a missing tooth can mean more strain is put on the teeth at either side. A gap can also mean your ‘bite’ is affected, because the teeth next to the space can lean into the gap and change the way the upper and lower teeth bite together. This can then lead to food getting packed into the gap, which causes tooth decay and gum disease.

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