Smile restoration can mean many things. If a tooth has a cavity, then the appropriate restoration might be a dental filling or a root canal treatment (depending on the cavity’s severity). If you’ve lost one or more teeth, then rebuilding your smile requires replacing them, often with the use of a custom-made dental bridge. Like the name suggests, a dental bridge closes the gap left in your smile when you’ve lost a tooth, or a few teeth in a row. Usually made from lifelike porcelain, the dental prosthetics are designed to closely mimic the appearance of real teeth while restoring your mouth’s ability to function.
Mechanics of Bridge-Building
When you lose teeth, you also lose some of your bite’s effectiveness, and you might experience difficulty biting, chewing, and enunciating your words properly. Your remaining teeth are also at a higher risk for gum disease and destructive tooth infections, called cavities. A dental bridge is designed to your specific needs, consisting of one, two, or three replacement teeth. The bridge is held in place by dental crowns on either side of it, which are affixed to the adjacent teeth on either side of the gap, known as abutment teeth.
How Modern Bridges are Built
Though conventional dental bridges are highly-effective, dentists often prefer to preserve as much healthy tooth structure as possible, and may recommend supporting your replacement teeth on a series of dental implants. Titanium implants are surgically inserted into your jawbone, mimicking your teeth’s roots when your jawbone heals, and can support your dental bridge without having to crown your healthy teeth.
If a Bridge Isn’t Enough (or Too Much)
If you’ve lost a few teeth that aren’t right next to each other, then we may suggest a partial denture, which fits along the curve of your dental ridge and fills in the non-adjacent spaces in your smile. If you’ve only lost one tooth, then a dental implant-and-crown combination can mimic a natural tooth’s root-and-crown construction. After a personal consultation and thorough examination, your dentist can help you decide which dental bridge or other tooth replacement option is right for you.