Sometimes patients lose a tooth due to an injury, illness, or tooth decay. If you’re missing one or more teeth, our team at Crosby Dentistry can restore the function and appearance of your smile with a dental bridge. Made to look exactly like your own natural tooth, a bridge is a simple way to fall in love with your smile again.
What Is a Bridge?
A bridge is a dental device that is affixed in your mouth and is used to help fill a gap where a tooth once was and mimics the look, feel, and function of natural teeth. Usually, bridges are only used when a few consecutive teeth are missing. When more teeth are missing, a patient may be better suited for a partial or full denture.
A bridge affixes to the healthy teeth on either side of a gap, so the artificial tooth fills the gap where your missing tooth once was. The bridge is not attached to the gums and jaw where the missing tooth was except in the case of an implant-supported bridge.
Do I Need to Replace a Missing Tooth?
Losing a tooth creates a void in the mouth. When left unfilled, otherwise healthy teeth slowly shift into the open area in the mouth. If your teeth move too much, this can lead to discomfort, jaw pain, an uneven bite, or even headaches and TMJ disorder. When your teeth shift from their original position, new wear patterns develop on your teeth, creating unnatural stress points.
Filling the gap with a dental bridge holds your healthy teeth in place, maintaining your natural jaw position and bite. Plus, replacing a missing tooth with a bridge can help to restore your original smile, improving its appearance and your ability to chew and speak.
How Do I Care for a Bridge?
For patients with dental appliances like bridges, optimal dental hygiene is essential. Caring for a bridge requires some special attention to keep your bridge in good shape.
Maintain your regular oral hygiene routine by brushing twice per day and flossing at least once every day. Be sure to floss under your bridge to remove food or debris that may have become trapped. A specialized cleaning tool called an interdental brush can help you clean the area below the bridge.
Be sure to avoid tobacco products and dark-colored drinks that may stain the bridge and cause it to look different from your natural tooth color. Although bridges are made from strong materials, hard foods can damage them, so avoid foods like nuts and popcorn kernels.
How Long Will a Bridge Last?
A bridge is a long-lasting solution for a missing tooth. With proper dental care, bridges can often last for ten to fifteen years. To maintain healthy teeth and gums and keep an eye on your dental bridge, we recommend scheduling visits with Dr. Crosby at least twice per year.
To learn more about dental bridges and other options for replacing missing teeth or to schedule your next dental exam in Lakeland, Florida, we welcome you to contact Crosby Dentistry today.