Missing teeth can be replaced using a dental procedure known as bridges. A dental bridge is an appliance that is permanently cemented into the space left by the missing tooth. The appliance consists of a false tooth held in place by crowns on the surrounding teeth. It serves to ‘bridge the gap’ left by the missing tooth.
Types of dental bridges
Your dentist will assist you in determining the appropriate type of dental bridge for your purposes. Location of the missing tooth as well as oral hygiene are factors in determining the appropriate type.
In a traditional bridge, the false tooth is held in place by two crowns affixed to the teeth surrounding the gap.
Resin-bonded bridges use metal bands affixed to the surrounding teeth rather than crowns to support the replacement tooth. This procedure is typically used for teeth missing at the front of the mouth.
In case only one tooth is near the missing tooth, a cantilever bridge is used.
Oral care after installation
Standard oral hygiene is especially important following installation of a dental bridge. Brush your teeth after meals to clean out any food that may lead to infections and result in losing the bridge. A soft-bristled toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste are recommended. Additionally, floss daily, and reduce your intake of sugary and starchy products, which can promote acid and plaque formation. Avoid food like nuts or candies that can stick to your teeth, and have your teeth cleaned once a year.
If proper oral hygiene is maintained, a dental bridge can last for eight to ten years.