It’s easy to see why people would be anxious to replace a missing front tooth where the gap is embarrassingly noticeable when they smile.
But what about a missing back tooth?
Did you know that each time you lose a tooth, about 10% of your chewing ability is lost with it? To fill that space, the teeth surrounding it tend to tilt over toward that gap. As they fall over, the adjacent teeth spread apart so decay and gum disease can more easily set in. In addition, the collapse in the bite can be associated with changes in facial profile and TMJ or bite problems.
Replacing that tooth not only restores your chewing ability, it prevents all those other potential dental, functional, and cosmetic problems.
Three solutions to replace a missing back tooth include a removable partial denture (the replacement teeth come out at night!) , an implant (a non-removable artificial titanium root with a crown attached), and a fixed bridge. The subject of this blog is the fixed bridge option, which is a non-removable porcelain restoration custom made to replace the missing tooth or teeth. It is fitted in the gap and anchored on both sides to the supporting teeth, thus forming a “bridge”.
A fixed bridge can replace more than one tooth. The bridge’s design is affected by the position and strength of the surrounding teeth. That’s why, the design of each bridge needs to be engineered to support all the teeth involved as well as serve exacting cosmetic and functional requirements.
The supporting teeth (abutments) are prepared to be anchors. Then an impression is created and sent to the lab for the final restoration. A sturdy temporary bridge is affixed while the permanent one is being fabricated at a dental lab. Once the final bridge is cemented, it can last for decades in most cases.
Call our office in Southfield at 248-356-8790 if you have missing back teeth. I will be glad to answer all your questions and help you determine if a bridge might be the right choice for you to improve your dental health. Installing a well-made bridge now can save you much trouble in the future!
So until next time,
Mark W Langberg, DDS, MAGD