A bridge is a way of permanently replacing a missing tooth or teeth. The replacement tooth (or teeth) is anchored to your own teeth on either side, or sometimes on just one side. To make a strong and long-lasting bridge and to ensure alignment, the replacement teeth are attached to crowns which are fitted to the adjacent teeth.
Why 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 or implant
- 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
How 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.
What are bridges made of?
There are a several types of bridge, including all porcelain, porcelain bonded to precious metal, and all metal. The majority of our bridges are all porcelain(ceramic). Due to the improvements in the strength of all ceramic bridges we can now offer them in the back of the mouth even in patients with a heavy bite without the fear of fractures. 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.
What 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 majority of our bridges just like the crowns we make are designed on a computer using sophisticated software and milled, optimizing the fit compared to older techniques . The colour will be carefully chosen to match your other teeth. Temporary crowns or a temporary bridge are then 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.
Can 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.
How else can a gap be filled?
Other options for filling a space are a removable denture, snap-on smile or a titanium implant.
What 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.
Looking after your 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.