Aside from the emotional distress associated with an imperfect smile and inability to chew properly, gaps from missing teeth may lead to more serious conditions such as gum disease or TMJ. This is because as teeth shift out of line, they are harder to clean thus leading to periodontal disease and jaws becoming misaligned.
A bridge is a fixed prosthetic appliance used to replace a missing tooth or teeth. The replacement tooth (also known as the pontic) is held in place by being attached to neighbouring (abutment) teeth. If the abutment teeth on either side of the artificial one are healthy, they are prepared for the placement of crowns. If they are not healthy enough to act as anchors to the bridge, Dr. Peter may recommend a dental implant which is an artificial root made of titanium to provide strength to the abutment teeth. Most bridges are implant supported, as the natural teeth are preserved wherever possible.
An impression must be taken so that an exact mould of the crowns and artificial tooth/teeth can be custom made at the laboratory. A temporary bridge, which can be made at our office, is required for the protection of your exposed teeth and gums. It is removed and replaced by the permanent bridge once ready from the lab.
As crowns and bridges are generally more aggressive dental procedures, they are only offered in cases where there are no other solutions. They usually require at least two appointments to ensure a normal, natural bite. Under a good oral hygiene regimen and regular visits to the dentist, they can last for many years. However, since they may not be as strong as natural teeth, care must be exercised in avoiding hard food or objects.