All of your teeth play an important role in speaking, chewing and in maintaining the proper alignment of other teeth. Tooth loss does not have to occur, but if you do lose teeth, they should be replaced to maintain proper function of your mouth. Fortunately, there are options for correcting tooth loss. One option is a bridge (fixed partial denture).
What is a bridge?
A bridge is a restoration which fills the gap where teeth are missing by attaching artificial teeth to adjacent natural teeth. It is formed to look like the missing tooth and takes its place in the mouth. The sides of a bridge use the two (or more) surrounding teeth for support, hence the name. Bridges can be constructed from gold, alloys, porcelain, or a combination of these materials. The choice of material depends on requirements for strength, wear and/or aesthetics.
The procedure for attaching a bridge usually takes two to three appointments to complete. Fixed bridges are typically cemented to the natural teeth on either side of the space left by the missing tooth.
Why do I need a bridge?
It is important that a missing tooth be replaced for several reasons. If not treated, the teeth adjacent to the gap begin to shift inward and will eventually change your bite and may affect your oral function and appearance.
A strict regimen of brushing and flossing will keep the bridge and surrounding teeth clean. This is very important as the bridge relies on the adjacent teeth for support. Regular dental cleanings and exams will aid in the life of your bridge.