A bridge replaces a missing tooth (or teeth) by fixing the replacement to the natural teeth at each side of the gap. Some bridges have crowns at each end. Others are fixed to the surface of the teeth beside the gap. Sometimes a bridge is only fixed to the tooth on one side of the gap.
Bridges are made of metal and porcelain or occasionally of porcelain alone.
How do we prepare a bridge?
There are several stages in making a bridge:
* Normally you would have a local anaesthetic to numb the tooth and gum before starting treatment.
- The dentist uses soft, mouldable material to take impressions of your mouth. A dental technician makes exact plaster models of your upper and lower teeth and gums, which show how your teeth bite together.
- The teeth which will support the bridge are prepared so that the bridge is not too bulky.
- Another impression is taken of the teeth and any gaps and the dental technician uses this to make the bridge. A plastic temporary bridge or crown may be fitted in the meantime.
- At your final visit, the dentist will check that the bridge fits, make minor adjustments and then fix permanently in place.
Your dentist will show you the best way of keeping your new bridge clean.
The benefits of this treatment:
A bridge almost lets you forget that you have missing teeth:
- It can improve the way you look, bite, chew and speak.
- The teeth can be matched to the colour of your own teeth.
- A bridge can last many years if kept clean and if there is no accidental damage.
- Natural teeth are protected from wear and tear, and from moving or tilting out of line which could cause your teeth to bite together incorrectly.
The alternative to a bridge will probably be a removable partial denture. The dentist will explain the chances of success with a bridge. If the supporting teeth are not strong enough a denture might be a better treatment choice. If teeth have just been extracted, a denture night be made first, with a bridge fitted later when the gum has healed.