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When one or more teeth are missing and there are healthy teeth on either side of the empty space, a "bridge" can replace the missing tooth or teeth. The simplest example would be a patient who was missing one tooth and the adjacent teeth on either side of the space were determined to be good "support teeth". These support teeth would be shaped or "prepared" for the dental bridge. Essentially, the teeth next to the missing space are prepared for "crowns" and a false tooth, termed a "pontic", is attached to the crowns on either side of the space. This is referred to as a fixed bridge because it bridges the missing tooth's space and is not removable like a removable partial denture.
Why would a patient need a bridge?
Teeth need each other for support. When a tooth is lost, the biting forces change on the teeth next to the space, causing teeth to shift. Another concern is that the opposing teeth no longer have anything to chew against, so they may begin to extrude out of their sockets. These changes create places around the teeth that are hard to keep clean, so plaque and bacteria build up quickly. This build up can cause tooth decay and periodontal disease.
Changes in the bite can also put improper chewing forces on the remaining teeth, and this can lead to loose teeth and loss of supporting bone, especially when periodontal disease is already present in your mouth. An uneven bite with one or more missing teeth makes it harder to chew your food and may lead to grinding and clenching. A bridge can prevent these problems and help maintain a stable bite and restore your beautiful smile.
Dental services provided by Fischer Family Dentistry: