What is a bridge?
A dental bridge is a fixed replacement for a missing tooth/teeth that is supported on other teeth beside the gap. They can be made in many different ways but there are 2 basic types – conventional and resin bonded. Conventional bridges require that each of the supporting teeth is paired down in a similar way as would be done for a crown. The false or replacement tooth is joined on both sides to these supporting teeth. Resin bonded bridges work on a similar concept but instead of supporting the replacement tooth on crowns, it is done on thin metal plates that are glued to the inside of the supporting teeth.
Why might I need a bridge?
Dental bridges are used to replace missing teeth, usually when there are between 1 and 3 teeth missing. They can be used for front or back teeth.
How long do they last?
The average is 10-15 years for conventional bridge and 7-10 years for resin bonded bridges. Depending on the condition, size or strength of the supporting teeth, this can be longer or shorter. Based on a thorough clinical assessment we will decide which type of bridge we feel would work best and discuss this with you.
What’s involved in having a bridge?
First of all, like having a crown, we make sure the supporting teeth are healthy and structurally suitable to support a bridge. Next the teeth are paired down by a small amount all around the outside, depending on the type of bridge involved. An impression is made of the paired down teeth and this is sent away to a dental laboratory, where the bridge is made on a stone cast of your mouth. While the final bridge is being fabricated you have a temporary bridge or denture to fill the space. When the final bridge comes back from the dental lab it is cemented in place. All of these procedures are done under local anaesthetic and are not painful. You can have sedation to help you relax during the treatment if you would prefer.
How long does it take to get a bridge made?
This mainly depends on how long ago the missing tooth was extracted. If it was taken out years ago then the bridge can sometimes be made within 2-4 weeks. If the extraction is very recent or hasn’t happened yet, it takes longer. You usually have to wait 5-6 months after an extraction for the gum shape to stabilize before having a final bridge. During this healing phase, you can have a temporary bridge or partial denture if you wish.
What are bridges made of?
Bridges are made of a variety of metals and porcelain materials, all of which have passed rigourous safety standards and are strong enough to support replacement teeth. We will always discuss the materials in your bridge with you in advance.