Close the Gap Left by a Missing Tooth
Missing teeth are not only aesthetically undesirable, but they can also have serious oral health consequences. A gap between the teeth can impair normal biting and chewing function, and compromise your speech. The bone underneath the gap can shrink, causing the facial muscles to collapse.
One of the best ways to avoid these problems and close a gap left by a missing tooth is by placing a fixed dental prosthesis known as a bridge. Dr. Raymond Hatland offers several types of dental bridges at his Chicago and Indianapolis offices.
Types of Dental Bridges
A traditional dental bridge is comprised of a pontic, or false tooth, flanked by two dental crowns. The crowns on either end are fitted over the teeth adjacent to the gap, and the pontic in the middle fits into the space left by the missing tooth. Typically, the teeth on either side of the gap need to be slightly filed down in order to accommodate and attach the bridge.
A cantilever bridge can be used if you have natural teeth on only one side of the toothless gap to support the bridge. The pontic is supported by a single crown, which is placed over the tooth next to the gap. Although cantilever bridges aren’t as strong as traditional bridges, they are a good option for cases where traditional bridges aren’t recommended.
The third option is a Maryland bridge, which consists of a pontic that is held in place with metal or porcelain framework that attaches to the backs of the teeth neighboring the gap. Maryland bridges do not require filing down the natural teeth, although their strength is limited in comparison to the other types of bridges.
Getting a Dental Bridge
The process of getting a dental bridge normally requires several dental appointments. During the first appointment, Dr. Hatland will evaluate your mouth and recommend the bridge that he feels is ideal for your case, based on the location of the toothless gap in your mouth, the health and strength of the surrounding teeth, and other factors.
Once you have decided on the type and material of your bridge, Dr. Hatland will take impressions and X-rays of the affected area to send to the dental laboratory tasked with creating your bridge. If he is preparing the teeth adjacent to the gap for a traditional or cantilever bridge, additional impressions may be taken.
A provisional bridge can be placed to close the gap while you wait for your permanent fixed prosthetic. This protects your prepared teeth and gums from damage until your permanent restoration is ready.
Once your custom bridge is ready, you will return for a second appointment. Dr. Hatland will remove the temporary teeth and position your bridge. If you are happy with how it feels and fits, Dr. Hatland will bond it into place.
As long as you follow his instructions for cleaning your bridge, it should last for many years.
Contact Dr. Hatland
If you are missing one or more teeth and want to discuss your replacement options with Dr. Hatland, we invite you to book a consultation at either our Chicago or Indianapolis office. Call or email us today to request an appointment.