If you’ve been looking to fill a gap in your smile caused by one or more missing teeth, a bridge may be the solution you’re looking for. Dental bridges are more than just a way to complete your smile: they can also help correct or prevent further issues with your teeth or your bite. Dr. Wendy Willoughby, DDS, of Chestnut Family Dentistry is ready to help you decide if this treatment may be a good fit.
Six Things to Know About Dental Bridges
1. A Confident Smile
One of the most common reasons someone seeks out dental bridges is to help them increase their confidence. Losing teeth is always hard, especially when it creates a new gap when you smile. Having this gap filled in can help some patients feel as though they can laugh and smile again without a second thought.
Your replacement teeth can be closely matched to your natural teeth, so they’ll blend right in. No one but you should be able to tell that you had a bridge put in, so you can just enjoy your renewed smile and stop hiding those pearly whites.
2. Preserve Your Face Shape
Many people are surprised to hear that tooth loss can affect your facial structure. When tooth loss happens, jaw decay is not far behind. This is due to the vital role the root of our teeth play in stimulating a healthy jawbone. This happens as we’re going about our daily lives and performing actions like chewing and talking. When the bone cells of the jaw are no longer being stimulated, it can weaken the jawbone over time.
This weakening can cause a cycle of increased tooth loss, which leads to even more jawbone decay. When the jawbone is no longer healthy, it also weakens the overall structure of the face, which can cause facial collapse. By filling in your smile’s gap, it can help you maintain a healthier jaw and avoid issues with your facial structure down the road.
3. They Can Help Correct Your Bite
When tooth loss takes place, it can lead to your bite falling out of line. This can happen for a number of reasons, such as migrating teeth or loss of jaw structure. When your bite begins to shift, your teeth may begin to wear unevenly. A misaligned bite can lead to headaches and can put an uncomfortable strain on your jaw muscles.
When your bite is set correctly, it tends to keep everything else “in line.” When it comes to oral health, one thing being out of place can affect the rest of your smile in multiple ways. Dental bridges can help prevent both the discomfort from an incorrect bite, as well as the dental issues it can lead to.
4. It Could Protect Your Other Teeth
The loss of even a single tooth can affect the structure of its neighboring teeth. When the neighboring teeth aren’t being held in place anymore, they often begin to migrate. When a tooth migrates, its root structure is put under increasing strain. This can compromise the health of a tooth that was perfectly healthy previously.
One of the benefits a bridge can offer is keeping your remaining teeth right where they belong. With a bridge in place, there is nowhere the neighboring teeth can migrate to, which can protect them from structural issues and root damage.
5. It May Reduce Difficulties With Speaking or Chewing
Missing teeth can cause some challenges when it comes to eating or speaking. Chewing can become painful when you have missing teeth, especially when you’re eating harder foods that can poke at your gums. As your remaining teeth have to compensate for any missing teeth, they often become sore more easily while chewing.
The loss of a single tooth usually doesn’t affect speech very much, but patients who have lost multiple teeth may find themselves having more trouble pronouncing certain words without a lisp. Teeth play an important role in forming words, so if you find that your tooth loss has made speaking more difficult, having your missing teeth addressed may help you speak with more ease and clarity.
6. Gum Health Is Important Too!
In addition to affecting the health of your other teeth and your jaw, did you know tooth loss can affect your gums as well? When you have missing teeth, it can create more spaces that food can get stuck in. Some of these areas can be difficult to clean. If you don’t notice these wedged food particles right away, they may begin to cause issues like gingivitis for the gums they are in contact with.
Gingivitis is a fairly common ailment, and when it’s caught early it’s usually easy to treat. However, untreated gingivitis can lead to periodontitis, a gum disease that causes severe gum decay and can lead to early tooth loss. Dental bridges can help protect multiple aspects of your oral health, both for the short and the long run.
A Smile You’ll Love
Are you tired of the same impersonal experience when you go to the dentist? If you’re ready for quality care in a warm and inviting environment, reach out today to schedule your consultation with Dr. Wendy Willoughby, DDS, of Asheville, NC. We believe in combining cutting-edge care with an environmentally-conscious and holistic approach to create a well-rounded experience for our patients. Our team can’t wait to help you!