Bridges

Bridges



Bridges are a permanent and realistic looking way of filling a gap between teeth caused by one or more missing teeth.

A bridge is a false tooth which is held in place by the teeth next to it. It is usually made of a precious metal base such as gold, with tooth coloured porcelain bonded to any visible areas to make it look natural.

Most often, the two neighbouring teeth – one on each side – will need to have crowns fixed onto them. The two crowns are then joined together by placing the false tooth between them and cementing them in place. This is known as a fixed bridge.

Creating a fixed bridge is usually a good option if the teeth either side are strong enough to support the bridge, but are already crowned or have had large fillings.

Sometimes adhesive bridges can be constructed. These have a lot less impact on the neighbouring teeth because the latest bonding techniques are used to hold the false tooth in place

bridges1-beforebridges1-after
bridges2-beforebridges2-after
1Why might my dentist advise a bridge?

There are a number of reasons your dentist might advise that you consider having a bridge to fill a space in your mouth. You may:

  • have a visible space and don’t like the idea of a denture
  • already have a denture and would prefer a different solution
  • have gaps at the back of your mouth and feel that you do not chew as well as you might
  • have gaps which do not worry you but your dentist has noticed that your bite is altering, causing damage or potential damage to other teeth
  • want to improve the appearance of your smile
2How long will a bridge last?

This will depend very much on how strong the supporting teeth are, how heavy your bite is, and how well the bridge is looked after with a good daily oral health regime and a healthy diet which limits the amount of sugary foods and drinks. If all these factors are favourable a bridge will last for many years.

3What are bridges made of?

There are a several types of bridge, including all porcelain, porcelain bonded to precious metal, and ceramic. If a supporting tooth is root filled, it may need to have a metal or carbon fibre post fitted first in order to support or retain the bridge. The appropriate type of bridge for your needs will depend on the need for strength and aesthetics. Your dentist will explain the differences and advise which is best for your circumstances. Cost will also be taken into account.

4What is the procedure?

You will need 2 appointments. At your first appointment, your dentist will trim and adjust the adjoining teeth to the required shape for crowns to fit over them. An impression will be taken and sent to the technician who will make the bridge. The colour will be carefully chosen to match your other teeth. Temporary crowns or a temporary bridge may be made and cemented on to the retaining teeth, to last until the next appointment.

At your second appointment, the temporary crowns/bridge will be removed, the permanent bridge inserted and carefully assessed for fit, appearance and correct bite. Any necessary adjustments will be made and, when perfect, the bridge will be permanently cemented to the supporting teeth cores.

5Can missing teeth always be replaced with a bridge?

Not always. There must be sufficient adjacent teeth and they must be strong enough to support the extra chewing forces they will be asked to take. Also the bone supporting the adjacent teeth must be strong enough.

6How else can a gap be filled?

Other options for filling a space are a removable denture and a titanium implant.

7What does a bridge cost?

This will depend on the number of teeth involved, the complexity of the situation and the dental technician’s fee. The technician’s fee will reflect the material used for each bridge. Your dentist will explain the cost to you in each case.

8Looking after my bridge

Your dentist or hygienist will advise you on the best way to care for your bridge. This will involve daily cleaning with floss or some other means that we will show you, since an ordinary toothbrush cannot reach the supporting teeth under the bridge.

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