What Is a Dental Bridge?
When we have a missing a tooth or teeth it is often desirable to replace the missing teeth rather than leave a space.
There are several ways to replace missing teeth, one of these is a dental bridge. A dental bridge is a false tooth which is attached to one or both teeth either side of the gap, these are called abutment teeth.
Bridges, as opposed to dentures, are a fixed solution to close the space and so are not able to be removed at home. They offer this without surgery which is required if you are going to replace the teeth with implants.
Bridges can be made from a variety of materials, however, typically they are made from ceramic materials, so they blend with your natural teeth.
Dental Bridge Types
- Traditional bridge
Traditional techniques for bridges required the teeth planned to be used as abutments to be prepared for a crown i.e., a uniform amount was removed from all the surfaces of the tooth, this meant a lot of natural tooth substance was lost. Conventional bridges are still popular and offer a good solution in certain circumstances.
- Resin Bonded Bridge
With today’s techniques and materials, it is usually possible to be more conservative and reduce this preparation to an absolute minimum or even to no preparation at all. Less preparation is a far healthier option for the abutment teeth. This is because it reduces the risk of weakening these teeth and requiring further work in the future.
These newer types of bridges are called resin bonded bridges and rely on the ability to glue to the natural tooth material. It uses metal or porcelain framework with ‘wings’ that are bonded to the back of the tooth or teeth either side of the gap.
- Implant Supported Bridge
It is also possible to have a bridge supported by implants. Implant supported bridges can replace one or two missing teeth or a full arch of missing teeth, commonly referred to ‘all on four.’ This does include surgery to places in the implants into your bone and will require some healing time.
What’s The Process for a Dental Bridge?
Depending on the type of bridge you decide to go for, there will be a slightly different process.
In general, there will be two appointments, one where the abutment teeth are prepared if needed and an impression or digital scan is taken of the teeth. This will be sent to the dental technician who will create the dental bridge and shape it to your teeth and mouth. This process usually takes around two weeks, at which point you will return to the dentist to have your new bridge fitted into the mouth.
What’s The Cost of a Dental Bridge?
There are many variables that can affect the price including:
- The number of teeth you need replacing.
- Which materials are to be used.
- Complexity of the case.
- Additional treatments for other dental issues, such as gum disease.
- Experience of your dentist.
- Where you live.
How Long Does a Dental Bridge Last?
When properly planned bridges can function well within the mouth with an average life span of around 10 years.
To get the best out of your bridge, it is important to ensure you are looking after your bridge (and the rest of your mouth) properly to avoid dental decay or gum disease forming.
This should include cleaning in between your teeth, under & around the false tooth and abutments and brushing for at least two minutes in the morning and before you go to bed.
Is the Dental Bridge a Right Option for Me?
To understand if you are a good candidate it is important to see your dentist for a full examination and discuss all the different factors before deciding whether a bridge is right for you.
--- By Dr. Millie Morrison I She graduated from University of Birmingham, UK in 2015. Since then she has become well established in the dental industry developing a keen interest in aesthetic restorative dentistry. She’s an international speaker for Invisalign, teaching clinical techniques to dentists across the globe.