This is another form of dental treatment for missing teeth which can be considered alongside a dental implant. It involves the use of synthetic teeth or restorations which are attached to natural teeth as a way of closing the gap caused by a missing tooth.

Many people lose a tooth or two and do not give it much thought but it is important that missing teeth are replaced to prevent the remaining teeth from shifting over towards the gap which then affects facial appearance.

There are two types of bridge to consider: the dental bridge which is worn for corrective purposes and cosmetic bridges which also do this but help to enhance the appearance of the teeth.

What is a dental bridge?

A bridge is a dental structure which consists of a false tooth - known as a pontic which lies between two crowns. These crowns help to secure the pontic in place, effectively bridging the gap left by a missing tooth.

The pontic sits in the gap and the two crowns fit over natural teeth on each side of this gap. This helps to support these teeth and prevents them from leaning into the gap.

A bridge can be fabricated from a variety of materials which includes gold, ceramic or alloys. The all ceramic bridge is often preferred to the metal ceramic bridge (also known as the porcelain fused to metal bridge) for reasons of physical enhancement.

There is more than one type of bridge which includes:

    • Fixed bridge (traditional)
    • Maryland bonded bridge
    • Cantilever bridge

The description of the bridge above refers to the traditional fixed bridge. This is the most popularly worn bridge and is a permanent addition.

The Maryland bonded bridge consists of a plastic pontic which is attached to metal bands that are joined to the teeth with resin.

The Cantilever bridge is worn where there are gaps within the front teeth. It is comprised of a pontic fastened to one or more adjoining teeth on that one side.  

Advantages of a dental bridge

They are a natural looking addition to your teeth. This is particularly the case if you opt for an all ceramic bridge or the Zirconia bridge.

They prevent bone loss and misaligned teeth caused by a gap and improve your appearance. Plus a bridge which is well cared for will last for many years.

Disadvantages of a dental bridge

A bridge can prevent tooth decay but unfortunately there is a risk associated with this. There is the likelihood of bacteria accessing the area around the bridge causing tooth decay and gum disease. But this is more likely to occur in people who do not follow a good oral hygiene routine. If you do not look after your bridge as part of a daily hygiene routine then there is an increased risk of an infection.

Plus some people have noticed that their teeth develop a heightened sensitivity in the first few weeks of wearing a bridge. This means that they experience pain and other similar symptoms when consuming hot and/or cold liquids.

The dental bridge procedure

Two visits are required for the fitting of a bridge.

The first appointment involves a discussion of the treatment followed by a trimming of the teeth either side of the gap in order to receive the crowns. An impression is taken of your teeth via a soft mould which is used in the production of your bridge.

A temporary bridge is fitted while you wait.

The second appointment is where you will be fitted with your new bridge. The temporary bridge is removed and replaced with the new bridge which is inserted into position. The fit and function is checked before being fixed in place with dental cement.

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