A whopping 178 million Americans are missing at least one tooth, though you wouldn’t know it by looking around. That’s because of the efforts of dental restoration experts like Dr. Amirreza Rafaat, who offer a number of solutions for missing teeth, including dental bridges.
At Lansdowne & Herndon Smile Design, our goal is to ensure that missing teeth don’t pose cosmetic or functional problems for our northern Virginia clients, which is why we provide restorative dentistry. Through dental bridges, we can improve your smile and help you regain functionality, giving you something to really grin about.
If you’d like to explore dental bridges, here’s a look at how they can help.
More than a missing tooth
Outside of the obvious cosmetic concerns, a missing tooth (or teeth) can have a cascading effect on your health and communication. Your teeth are designed to work together as a set, and each tooth plays a role in your overall ability to speak and chew properly.
For example, the teeth along the front of your mouth help with precision cutting, and they play an integral role in your speech. If you pay close attention to how your mouth moves when you speak, you begin to realize that your teeth play a larger role in how you talk than you might have been aware of. Between your teeth, your tongue, and your lips, you’re able to be speak clearly and enunciate your words. Absent a front tooth, either on your upper jaw or your lower jaw, you’ll find that speech is made more difficult.
When it comes to your back teeth, these help your digestive tract enormously by grinding up your food before it enters your stomach. If you’re not able to reduce the food in your mouth, it may be difficult for your gastrointestinal tract to extract the valuable nutrients you need to fuel your body.
Whether in the front or the back, it’s also important that every tooth maintains its position. But when you’re missing a tooth, the ensuing bone loss can cause your existing teeth to shift out of place.
A bridge to a solution
Now that we’ve reviewed why it’s important to replace a missing tooth, let’s get into how a dental bridge can help. If you’re missing a tooth, or several in a row, a bridge is a device with prosthetic teeth that attaches to your surrounding teeth for support.
A dental bridge is a stable solution because we bond it to your neighboring tooth. To do this, we place crowns over your existing teeth on either side (although we do have bridges that attach to only one side when necessary). The bridge contains pontics (prosthetic teeth) that look and function just like your natural teeth, which allows them to fit in seamlessly.
Once your bridge is in place, it serves the same functions as your natural teeth insofar as chewing and speaking. And with the bridge firmly in place, your existing teeth stay put so you can avoid more serious problems down the road.
Bridging the gap
The process for getting a bridge is fairly easy. You simply come in and we take digital impressions to ensure that your bridge fits in comfortably with your existing teeth. We send this information off to a lab, which custom manufactures your bridge. During this first visit, we also prepare your neighboring teeth to receive and support the new device.
When your bridge comes in, you return so that we can bond it into place. Dr. Rafaat takes some time to ensure that your new teeth look as natural as possible and function well — namely by checking that your bite still lines up correctly.
After you go home, you brush and care for your bridge just as you do your natural teeth.
If you’d like to restore your smile and regain function with a dental bridge, please give us a call or use the online form to request an appointment.