Bridging the Gap
The impact of living with missing teeth can go far beyond just affecting your ability to chew and making you feel self-conscious about smiling. Long term, living with a lost tooth can cause a variety of major problems, including:
TMJ disorder (jaw joint discomfort)
This is due to compression of the TMJ joint when back teeth are missing. Our back teeth act as “stops” when we chew, so when even one is missing, all of the forces are absorbed by the joint up toward the ear, causing degradation of the healthy supportive tissue that is supposed to be there.
Bite misalignment (malocclusion)
Teeth that drift out of alignment
When one tooth is missing, the teeth behind it always drift forward into the missing space. This is called “mesial drift.” This is the same reason that lower front teeth become crowded and crooked over time. Also, the tooth above the missing space always comes down the fill in the missing space (called “supra-eruption”). If you go any length of time before having the missing tooth replaced, drift and supra-eruption will severely limit your options for replacing the missing tooth with a proper fitting implant or bridge.
Damage to current dental work
Loss of supporting jawbone
Additional lost teeth
At Advanced Dentistry of Amarillo, Dr. Miller and Dr. Esler can replace missing teeth by designing and placing a fixed/permanent dental bridge. A bridge fills the gap where lost teeth used to be and stabilizes the teeth next to the space. The replacement teeth (pontics) will look just like your other teeth and will attach to the teeth next to the space (abutment teeth). As an alternative to dentures, a bridge can even be used to replace all of the upper or lower teeth in your mouth if combined with implants for support.
We offer three types of bridges:
PFM (Porcelain Fused to Metal) Bridges add a metal substructure underneath top-quality dental porcelain. This fabrication allows the porcelain to show when you smile, while the metal is hidden but absorbs the forces in areas where the teeth hit together. This type of bridge is recommended for patients who have a destructive bite (they have worn down or chipped their old teeth).
Metal-free Bridges are made entirely of aesthetic dental porcelain. This makes it an ideal choice for replacing front teeth, as dental porcelain has the same light-reflecting characteristics as the enamel on your natural teeth. A metal-free bridge also is a great treatment option for a patient who has a metal allergy.
Zirconia Bridges, also referred to as dental implant bridges, are placed in the mouth attached to dental implants that are inserted into the jawbone. Made from zirconia, a material known for its high strength, these bridges are the strongest and most comfortable option for replacing all of the upper or lower teeth in your mouth.
Advantages of Bridges
Durable. Bridges are one of the longest-lasting restorative treatment options available and typically last for 10+ years.
Stable. Bridges are bonded directly into the mouth, as opposed to dentures, which often slip and must be removed to be cleaned. Maintaining a bridge is easy, because you can brush the area as normal to clean it.
To learn more about our cosmetic dentistry services, contact our office and request a consultation.
Advanced Dentistry of Amarillo is proud to serve patients in Amarillo, Canyon, Dalhart and the surrounding Texas Panhandle.