Teeth are strong and durable but they can be lost through injury or as a result of decay or poor oral hygiene. If you lose a tooth it can have implications on oral health, the ability to speak clearly and eat properly, as well impacting the aesthetics of a smile.
Teeth on either side of the missing tooth can become strained and may also start to move out of alignment. Bone can disintegrate after a tooth becomes missing, which can affect how the face looks and food can easily become stuck in gaps, leading to potentially serious gum disease and tooth decay. We recommend patients replace missing teeth to reduce the risk of oral health diseases and restore mouth functionality.
A dental bridge is a form of tooth restoration which is used to replace any gaps left by missing teeth. As the name suggests, a dental bridge literally bridges the gap created when teeth are lost. A typical bridge is made using one or more artificial teeth which are held in place by two dental crowns which are bonded to the supporting teeth either side of the gap.
A dental bridge can be used to replace missing teeth providing the supporting teeth are strong enough to support the workload of the missing teeth. A dental bridge offers a low-risk reliable replacement for missing teeth.
There are three forms of dental bridge: the conventional fixed bridge, the Maryland Bridge and the cantilever bridge. The conventional fixed bridge is made from an artificial tooth and two crowns which are attached to adjacent teeth. It is not removable and should last for a number of years once in place.
A Maryland bridge is recommended in cases where the gap is at the front of the mouth and the teeth on both sides of the absent teeth are healthy. The artificial tooth is bonded to the adjoining teeth using resin.
A cantilever bridge is recommended in cases where only one of the supporting teeth is healthy.
Dental bridges are used for people who have one or more missing teeth that are affecting:
The process of applying a dental bridge is fairly straightforward and our dentists have a great deal of experience in this field. There is often no need for anaesthetic and the procedure only takes a short amount of time. An impression of the teeth will be taken and used as a template for the bridge. We will discuss materials and colour shades so that you can decide on which would suit you best.
A mild anaesthetic is usually required to numb the surrounding area before treatment. Teeth may be sensitive initially after treatment, in which case using sensitive toothpaste may help.
Dental bridge treatment usually requires two appointments. During the first appointment, we will take an impression of your teeth, prepare the surrounding teeth and fit a temporary bridge.
During the second appointment, your bridge will be fitted. However, the bridge may not be permanently cemented during this appointment and extra visits may be required so that the fit is correct, but generally they only take two visits.
A dental bridge looks natural in the mouth and fits in beautifully with the rest of the teeth. They also normally only require two visits so don't take up a lot of time. Another advantage is that they last for a long time if they are well looked after. The average life span of a dental bridge is between 5 and 10 years. They improve a lot of issues that missing teeth create such as appearance, bite function and speech.
Teeth may be extra sensitive to hot and cold for few weeks after treatment but this should only be temporary. Teeth on either side of the gap need to be healthy so that they can be treated and prepared. There is also an increased risk of gum disease and oral infection if a high standard of oral hygiene is not maintained.
The cost of a dental bridge will depend on the severity of your case, how many teeth need to be treated and they type of bridge required. Our dentists will discuss this with you during your consultation.
Other alternatives include dental implants and dentures. Please contact one of our friendly team for further information.