Having one or more missing teeth can have a serious effect not only on your smile, but also on your dental health. Specifically, missing teeth can cause:
- A shift in the alignment of your teeth
- Increased risk of periodontal disease
- Increased risk of tooth decay
- Loss of adjacent teeth
- Speech disorders
- Temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ)
What Are Dental Bridges?
Like dental implants, dental bridges are used to replace a missing tooth, except bridges are supported by the teeth on either side called abutment teeth.
What Are the Benefits of Bridges?
Like many cosmetic dental procedures, placing bridges also serves a restorative purpose. A dental bridge will improve your ability to chew and speak as well as your smile. In a recent study published in the Journal of the American Dental Association, dental bridges were shown to dramatically reduce the risk of losing teeth that are adjacent to a missing tooth. In addition, dental bridges can help keep your jaw and face from changing shape, as they tend to do when a person has missing teeth.
What Types of Bridges Are There?
- Cantilever bridges are used to replace a tooth that does not have supporting teeth on both sides of the affected area.
- Maryland bonded bridges include artificial teeth and gums, and are held in place by a metal frame.
- Traditional bridges are the most common, and literally bridge the gap of an empty tooth space by securing a false tooth using crowns on the teeth on either side.