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If you’ve lost a tooth, you can expect more than just one less chewing surface in the mouth. Missing teeth can destabilize your healthy teeth and actually increase the possibility that you will lose more teeth in the future. They can also lead to bite misalignment and pain in the jaw and facial muscles. A dental bridge is an excellent, conservative tooth replacement option that lets you restore your dental function and keep your whole mouth healthy. Dr. Abbey Lee provides Grant Park dental bridges for her Atlanta patients in need of single tooth replacement.
What Happens When You Lose a Tooth
We tend to think of our teeth as being in highly stable, permanent positions–but the truth is that they can easily shift. This is the principle that allows orthodontics to successfully realign teeth. When all the teeth are present in the mouth and fit together well, they do not shift very much; however, when a tooth is lost, the teeth adjacent to the gap will slowly drift into the empty space. Soon the adjacent may teeth sit at an angle, and a new gap is created between two formerly well aligned teeth. Over time, the gap created by a lost tooth can lead to multiple teeth shifting into new positions, which can alter the alignment of your entire bite.
“Bite” refers to the way the top and bottom teeth fit together when you chew and bite down. When a child has a misaligned bite—such as overbite, under bite, or cross bite—we recommend braces to put the teeth into a more balanced position. Why? Because a misaligned bite can cause greater wear and tear on teeth. When top and bottom molars don’t fit together optimally to grind food, for example, one tooth may become more likely to crack or chip, due to repeated pressure and friction.
Since teeth become more brittle as you age, changes to your bite, such as those initiated by a lost tooth, can have a devastating effect on the health of your teeth. Teeth may become worn down, crack, and become more vulnerable to decay and gum disease.
How Dental Bridges Work
A dental bridge prevents this cascade of changes to your dentition by stabilizing the teeth surrounding the site of the missing tooth. This prevents shifting and ensures your alignment stays in its present, balanced state. The bridge is permanently attached to the teeth surrounding a gap, in a process similar to that of dental crowns. By enveloping and holding those two teeth in a fixed position, the bridge ensures your teeth stay put.
The body of the bridge is composed of a prosthetic tooth, or pontic, which sits over the site of the missing tooth and restores chewing and biting function. Dental bridges are typically constructed of highly durable dental porcelain, which resists chipping and decay and looks natural in your smile. Dental bridges can also be supported by dental implants, if more than one consecutive tooth have been lost.
Contact Us Today!
If you’ve lost a tooth but have mostly healthy teeth otherwise, a dental bridge can help ensure they stay that way! Contact Smiles 4 Grant Park to learn more about Grant Park dental bridges and other tooth replacement options with Dr. Abbey Lee. Call us at 404-328-7177 or request an appointment online.