Having a beautiful smile is important to many patients, so when they lose a tooth due to extraction, trauma, or a failed root canal, they may be less than satisfied with the way their smile looks without their natural teeth. An unattractive gap may be left behind, which can result in a patient feeling embarrassed when they smile or self-conscious about the way they look to others. One way to restore a missing tooth in one’s smile is with a dental bridge.
A dental bridge is a cosmetic restoration that utilizes the surrounding teeth for support. This false tooth will replace the natural tooth and give the appearance of its existence. Dental bridges require healthy surrounding teeth to provide support and help hold the bridge in place.
Dental bridges are different from dental crowns. While they are both restorations, a dental bridge is actually made with two crowns. These crowns are bonded to the replacement tooth, and are used to support the middle tooth. The teeth surrounding the area where the natural tooth is missing will be filed down slightly to bond the dental bridge in place, similar to the way a single crown is bonded to the top of a natural tooth.
Patients who are missing a natural tooth may not only be dealing with an unsightly gap, but by not acknowledging the problem, they are risking additional teeth moving and developing problems with their bite or alignment. This is because teeth will shift out of place due to the missing tooth, and may require months or years of orthodontic treatment to address if left unattended. By placing a restoration in the area of the missing tooth, the rest of a patient’s smile will be left unchanged.
Dental bridges are a wonderful alternative to partial dentures or a dental implant, and are often more affordable for patients that are on a tight budget. While they do require additional care and treatment, they can be a great solution for anyone missing a natural tooth.