People can lose teeth for a variety of reasons, the most common being gum disease followed by tooth decay and trauma. In some cases when a tooth is knocked out, it can be replanted successfully as long as the tooth is kept clean and in a suitable storage vessel (there are specially designed products available and you may want to consider buying one if you play impact sports). However, this needs to take place within an hour of the event for the best chance of success, which is not always possible.
When a tooth is lost the gap it leaves can cause several problems. People are likely to become self conscious, losing confidence in their smile and potentially creating difficulties in their work and social life, particularly if the gap also affects their speech. Also the loss of the tooth changes the distribution of pressure when biting and chewing, which puts the teeth either side of the gap and those opposing it under stress so they may move out of position.
Dental bridges are a common solution to filling the gap left by lost teeth. They work by literally bridging the gap — one or more false teeth called a pontic is sandwiched in between two crowns bonded to the adjoining teeth. The pontic is designed to fill the gap perfectly and restore full function to the bite. Sometimes this will need some minor adjustments but our principal dentist Oberah will work carefully with you to achieve the right balance.
The process of receiving a dental bridge is similar to getting crowns — the supporting teeth are prepared to receive the crowns and impressions are made to send to the lab. You will be given a temporary bridge to wear in the meantime.
When your bridge is ready, Oberah will remove the temporary bridge and position the permanent one in your mouth. It may take several visits (making small adjustments each time) to make sure the new bridge is sitting correctly before it is permanently fixed in place.
You will need to take care of your bridge with good oral hygiene and regular check-ups with Oberah and appointments with the hygienist. Dental bridges that are well cared for can last up to 10 years or more.