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Replacing the missing teeth in your smile is very important. There are of course the cosmetic issues. If you have gaps in your grin, you will feel self-conscious, and missing teeth can give you a sunken smile, which can make you look older than you really are. But there are health considerations as well. If you have missing teeth, plaque and bacteria will have extra places to hide and promote gum disease and tooth decay. Your remaining teeth will have room to drift out of alignment, increasing the chances that they will strike one another improperly, causing loss of enamel and tooth damage. Finally, a full set of teeth will allow you to eat and speak more effectively.

There are several replacement options. Dental implants are one of the most popular, since they are mounted on titanium posts that have been placed directly into the jawbone. Not only are the implants very sturdy, but as your jawbone grows around them, the jaw grows stronger. Dental implants can be brushed and flossed just like regular teeth. However, implants do require surgery, and there are some medical conditions and medications that may mean implants will not work for everyone. Dentures are easy to clean, but not everyone is comfortable wearing them, and they may trigger the gag reflex in some people. A dental bridge may be good compromise between the two. A bridge is one or more prosthetic teeth, held in place by two crowns on each end of the space between your teeth. Bridges do not require any surgery, and the process can be completed in two visits. Your dentist will use a drill to remove the enamel from the two teeth that will hold the crowns. The dentist will take an impression of the teeth and the surrounding area. That impression will be sent to a dental lab that will create your custom bridge. In the meantime, the dentist will give you temporary crowns and a bridge to wear. When the bridge is ready, the dentist will place the permanent crowns and the bridge in your mouth with dental cement.

With the proper care, your bridge can last over ten years. But remember that the teeth holding your crowns are vulnerable to decay at the gumline, and decay or gum disease could cause the bridge to fail. To keep this from happening, you should brush your teeth at least twice a day, floss once a day, and see your dentist for your regular cleanings and exams. If you have teeth that need to be replaced and would like to find out of a bridge will work for you, our dentist, Dr. James C. Ma will be happy to see you for a consultation. If you live in the Bakersfield, California area and would like to schedule an appointment at James C. Ma call phone today. We look forward helping you have the smile of a lifetime!