Posted on: 25 June 2015
Few things can impact your teen's self-confidence as much as appearance issues. This is just one reason why a lost tooth can be traumatic for a young adult. On top of the appearance problem, missing teeth can cause the remaining teeth to shift out of alignment or pose a hygiene challenge. Teens are too young for permanent solutions, like implants, but a bridge is a semi-permanent option that is available. This guide will help you understand bridgework and how it can help your child.
What Is a Partial Bridge?
A partial bridge is a false tooth, or crown, that is bonded to the backs of two teeth adjacent to the missing tooth. Unlike other temporary fixes, like partial dentures, bridges aren't removable. This means your teen doesn't need to worry about them shifting or coming out when they are talking or biting into hard foods.
Is It Permanent?
Although some types of bridges are permanent, these require modifications to the adjacent teeth. A bonded bridge is designed to last for several years without being visible or causing further tooth damage. This allows time for your teen's jaw to finish developing so they can then get a permanent implant installed.
Why Not Opt for a Permanent Bridge?
Although you may choose the more permanent traditional bridge, this can lead to long-term dental issues. The roots of a tooth stimulate the jaw bone, which keeps the bone healthy and dense. Once there is no tooth to stimulate it, the bone density decreases. Jaw bone loss can lead to further tooth loss and future facial structure issues. Implants mimic a tooth root, so they help mitigate bone loss. Most dentists recommend fitting your teen with a permanent implant as soon as they finish growing.
What If My Teen Needs Braces?
Fortunately, bridges don't affect braces or other tooth alignment procedures. Since the bridge fills the gap of the missing tooth, your child's orthodontist can better align the remaining teeth so that space remains for the future implant. Sometimes, your orthodontist may recommend placing the bridge after the braces are removed if there isn't a bridge in place before orthodontic treatment begins.
Are There Any Hygiene Concerns?
Your child will brush and floss around bridges just as they would their natural teeth. Bridges can be more difficult to clean thoroughly, though, especially on the back, which can lead to increased plaque build up. Increased plaque can in turn increase the chances of gum disease and tooth decay. Other than twice daily brushing and flossing, make sure you schedule regular six-month dental cleanings to prevent extensive plaque buildup on the teeth and bridge. You may wish to visit http://www.cretzmeyer.com for more information about bridges and cleanings.