This is an option for filling the space created by a missing tooth. It is formed to look like the missing tooth, and it takes its place in the mouth. The sides of a bridge use the two surrounding teeth for support, hence the name. A bridge replaces the missing tooth, both functionally and cosmetically. Bridgework is as much an art as it is an exact science. The materials used may be gold alloys, porcelain bonded to metal alloy, or all ceramic (tooth colored) material. The choice of material depends on requirements for strength, wear, and/or esthetics.
It is important that a missing tooth be replaced as soon as possible for several reasons. If not treated the teeth surrounding the gap can begin to shift or tip inward. This creates additional stress on the teeth and on the muscles and jaw joints. If nothing is done to replace the missing teeth, the force and stress on the remaining teeth and on the muscles and jaw can cause breakdown of these systems. Teeth can break or supportive bone can be damaged and cause tooth loss. Muscles can become hyperactive (spasm) and cause headaches, jaw pain, and even damage to the jaw joint itself. Bone Resorption is a common complication of tooth removal.
Bone resorption is a common complication of tooth removal—one which makes it challenging to replace the teeth esthetically. Fortunately, dentistry has been at the forefront of development in bone science, and offers several common techniques to avoid bone resorption and reconstruct resorption defects.