What is a Bridge?
A bridge is used to fill the gap left by one or more missing teeth. An artificial tooth is used to bridge the gap and is attached to the teeth on either side. It is made of gold, precious metal, porcelain or a combination of these materials.
Types of Bridges:
This consists of the artificial tooth and the attachment crowns (retainers). The artificial tooth fills the space left by the missing tooth. The retainers which cover the teeth on either side of the gap hold the artificial tooth in place. The bridge is permanently fixed, unlike a denture which is removable.
Maryland / Bonded Bridge
This is usually used in the front of the mouth to replace a single missing tooth. The artificial tooth has one or two metal wings which are bonded to the back of the two teeth either side of the gap, out of sight. This type of bridge is useful where there is less pressure on the bite and the supporting teeth are strong and free from restorations. The advantage of this bridge is that little or no preparation is required on the supporting teeth. The disadvantage is the possibility of it coming loose with a heavy bite.
A cantilever bridge has only one crown to support the artificial tooth.
Who is suitable?
Anyone who has a missing tooth / teeth can be assessed for suitability for bridgework. There must be natural teeth present to attach the bridge to and the oral hygiene must be very good. It may be possible to replace a removable denture with a permanently fixed bridge.
Procedure for a Bridge:
Under local anaesthetic the teeth on either side of the space are prepared for crowns. This involves removing part of the tooth structure to accommodate the thickness of the crowns.
An impression is then taken of the teeth. This impression is sent to a dental laboratory. It will be used to make a model of the teeth. The bridge will then be fabricated by a ceramist. This usually takes 2 – 3 weeks. Either a temporary bridge or a denture with temporary crowns will be used to fill the space until your next appointment.
At the next appointment the temporary bridge is removed. The permanent bridge is tried in and checked for fit, bite and shade. If all is well the permanent bridge is cemented to the supporting teeth.
What are the benefits of a dental bridge?
Restore your smile
Improve chewing and ability to speak
Prevent the teeth drifting, tilting or over-erupting into the gap.
Spread the forces of your bite
Maintain the shape of your face.
What is the cost of a dental bridge?
The cost of a bridge depends on many factors:
The type and amount of material used
The need for additional work associated with the bridge e.g. root canal treatment, provision of posts in adjoining teeth.
The quality of the aesthetic finish required.
Since no two cases are identical please feel free to discuss these issues with your dentist.
The longevity of a bridge depends on good oral hygiene and regular check-ups.
Studies show that the majority of well maintained bridges will last on average 12 years, with a high percentage lasting longer.
Maintaining your bridge:
You can increase the longevity of any complex treatment by attending our hygienist for long-term care and maintenance.