The teeth to be used for a bridge are called the “abutment teeth” and they are prepared in a similar way that a dental crown would be made. An impression is then taken for the lab technician to construct the crowns and attach the missing teeth (called the “pontic teeth”). Please see the attached picture to understand the terminology we use when we discuss bridges.
The 3 main ways missing teeth can be replaced is with an implant, a bridge or a denture. A fourth type of bridge can sometimes be made (as an temporary solution) with a direct resin-reinforced fibre that is glued to the teeth. Why should a missing tooth or teeth be replaced in the mouth? There are 4 main reasons why replacement of missing teeth is recommended:
- Cosmetic concerns – Your missing front or side tooth is causing you embarrassment or affecting your self-esteem.
- Functional concerns– You are having a difficulty chewing your food since the missing teeth were removed.
- Chronic pain – You may have jaw inflammation or neck issues as a direct result of poor jaw support. This happens when back teeth are lost. We will assess the causes of your chronic jaw or neck pain beforehand.
- Integrity of the face – Losing teeth has made your face “cave in” and made you look a few years older? Proper lip and cheek support is restored when the missing teeth are replaced.
Until dentists understood the importance of the cranial bones to health, we used to routinely bridge or “splinting together” teeth across jaw bony sutures. A bony suture is a join between two different bones in the mouth and there needs to be some flexibility and movement between them for health to be maintained. Osteopaths and cranial physical therapists will readily attest to the importance of this statement. The best advice we can give you when designing a fixed bridge in your mouth is this:
Any “fixed bridge” or dental appliance fitted in your mouth must not lock up your head!