When you’re missing a tooth, you really have two options, a dental implant or a bridge. And, while at EMA Dental we believe implants are the best option, sometimes patients prefer to have a bridge.
Some people think they can simply leave a missing tooth alone. After all, it’s just a single tooth, right? An estimated 69% of Americans age 35 to 44 have at least one missing tooth.
The problem isn’t necessarily the gap; it’s your other teeth. Just like fans at a packed football game when one person leaves a bleacher row, your teeth move over to fill the empty gap. This causes issues with your bite and overall tooth alignment. No bueno.
What is a bridge?
A bridge, just as the name implies, spans the gap, using a crown to anchor it on each side with an artificial tooth (called a pontic) in the middle. The adjacent teeth on each side are the abutment teeth. Bridges can be made of a variety of materials, but the most common are porcelain or ceramic.
How is a bridge placed?
When we opt for a bridge for our EMA Dental patients, the first step is to prepare the abutment teeth. We remove some of the tooth on each side to make room for crowns to be placed atop both teeth. We then take impressions of the area and send them to our dental lab for fabrication of your bridge. That bridge will have both crowns on the two sides with a pontic or pontics in between. It is all one ceramic or porcelain piece.
When your bridge is finished you return and we check the fit and the color match of your bridge. If everything looks good, we cement the crowns down onto your abutment teeth and you’re good to go.
Crowns can last the rest of your life, if you practice good home hygiene. Any decay on the abutment teeth, however, can cause a bridge to become loose.
If you have a missing tooth, call us at our Longmeadow or Northhampton offices and let’s talk about a bridge or implant.