A missing tooth can be the source of great embarrassment because it is such an obvious flaw. It can make people reluctant to smile and be the cause of self-confidence issues. But a missing tooth can be physiologically damaging as well as psychologically. Missing teeth leave hollows in the gums that can be the breeding ground for bacteria. Because these hollows are difficult to clean with conventional brushing the bacteria builds up and becomes enamel-damaging plaque. This can lead to further tooth decay and tooth loss.
Missing teeth also leave gaps in the tooth line that other teeth will naturally lean into. This movement can be responsible for an interruption in bite which can lead to the painful jaw condition TMJ, as well as the sub-conscious grinding of teeth, known as bruxism Teeth also act as rigid supports for facial muscles and if missing can cause a sagging of the facial tissue that cam be irreversible.
There are several cosmetic dentistry procedures that can effectively replace a missing tooth or teeth, that can prevent all the abovementioned complications. One of the most popular is a dental bridge. This basically involves creating a bridge made of an artificial tooth, called the pontic, and securing it to existing teeth on either side of the gap.
There are three main types of dental bridge. The traditional fixed bridge involves anchoring the pontic to existing teeth with a dental crown on either side. A resin-bonded bridge is attached to the lateral teeth with resin bonded metal strips (only suitable for patients with strong existing teeth). Finally, the cantilevered bridge which is used when there are only natural teeth on one side of the gap. The pontic will be anchored to two or more teeth on that side.
Dental bridges are sturdy alternatives to real teeth. If properly cared for, with correct brushing and oral hygiene, they can last up to fifteen years. If you have a missing tooth, either due to dental injury or decay, ask a Central London dentist about fitting a dental bridge and you could prevent any further dental complications as well as restoring the cosmetic appearance of your teeth.