Bridgework is an option for filling the space created by a missing tooth. A bridge replaces the missing tooth, both functionally and cosmetically. The sides of a bridge use the two surrounding teeth for support, hence the name.
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 tooth-colored ceramic material. The choice of material depends on requirements for strength, wear, and aesthetics.
A missing tooth must be replaced as soon as possible.
If not treated, the teeth surrounding the gap can begin to shift or tip inward. This creates additional stress on the teeth, muscles, and jaw joints. If nothing is done to replace the missing teeth, the force and stress can cause breakdown of the remaining teeth, muscles, and jaw.
Teeth can break, and supportive bone can be damaged, resulting in tooth loss. Muscles can become hyperactive cause spasms, headaches, jaw pain, and even damage to the jaw joint itself.
Bone resorption is another common complication of tooth removal—one which makes it challenging to replace the teeth aesthetically. 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.