Why should I replace missing teeth?
Your appearance is one reason. Another is that the gap left by a missing tooth can mean more strain is put on the teeth at either side. A gap can also mean your ‘bite' is affected, because the teeth next to the space can lean into the gap and change the way the upper and lower teeth bite together. This can then lead to food getting packed into the gap, which causes tooth decay and gum disease.
How are missing teeth replaced?
This depends on the number of teeth missing and on where they are in your mouth. The condition of the teeth you still have also affects the decision.
There are three main ways to replace missing teeth. The first is with a removable false tooth (or teeth) - called a partial denture. The second is with a fixed bridge. A bridge is usually used when there are fewer teeth to replace, or when the missing teeth are only on one side of the mouth. The third way is by the use of dental ‘implants'. This is where an artificial root is placed into the bone of the jaw and a crown or bridge placed on top of this.
Can I have a bridge fitted straight after having a tooth removed?
It can take up to 6 months for your gums to heal properly after an extraction. This means that you may need to have a temporary denture before the bridge is fitted.
Can I always have a bridge to replace missing teeth?
You can have a bridge only if you have enough strong teeth with good bone support. Your dental team will help you decide which is the best way of replacing missing teeth.
What are bridges made of?
Bridges are usually made of porcelain bonded to precious metal. Sometimes other non-precious metals are used in the base for strength. There are also new bridges made entirely of a special type of strong porcelain.
What will a bridge cost?
The cost will vary depending on the size and type of bridge you need. You will always be given a written estimate and treatment plan before starting any dental treatment. Although a bridge may seem expensive it should last many years.
How do I look after my bridge?
You need to clean your bridge every day, to prevent problems such as bad breath and gum disease. You also have to clean under the false tooth every day. Your dentist or hygienist will show you how to use a bridge needle or special floss, as a normal toothbrush cannot reach.