One or more missing teeth can have a serious effect not only on your smile, but also on your dental health. Missing teeth can cause a plethora of problems:
- A shift in the alignment of your teeth
- Greater probability of periodontal disease
- Increased risk of tooth decay
- Loss of adjacent teeth
- Speech disorders
- Temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ)
Dental bridges are used to literally bridge the gap in your mouth. Like dental implants, dental bridges are used to replace missing a missing tooth, with the exception that bridges are supported by the teeth on either side, called abutment teeth. 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 is common in a person who has missing teeth.
There are several types of bridges and each functions differently.
- Cantilever bridges – Used to replace a tooth that does not have supporting teeth on both sides of the affected area
- Maryland bonded bridges – Artificial teeth and gums are held in place by a metal frame
- Traditional bridges – The most common variety, which occupies a gap of an empty tooth space. Crowns on adjacent teeth hold false tooth in place.