What are Dental Bridges?
Dental bridges literally bridge the gap created by a missing tooth or teeth. They are cemented onto existing teeth or implants and, unlike dentures, can only be removed by a dentist. Natural teeth or implants on either side support bridges; they are made up of two or more crowns for the teeth on either side of the gap, and a false tooth or teeth in between. The false teeth can be made of porcelain or alloys. Bridges will most likely be fitted over two sessions; during your first visit, the teeth are prepared and covered with temporary crowns. During your second visit, the fitting will be completed.
There are two main reasons that a person might consider getting dental bridges fitted:
- The first is for cosmetic purposes; bridges can help restore your smile and your confidence.
- The second is to reduce the strain on the teeth on either side of the gap and enlarge the chewing surface.
Missing teeth can often cause an uneven bite, as the teeth next to the gap can lean inwards and alter the way in which the upper and lower teeth bite together. Dental bridges can distribute your bite properly by replacing missing teeth.
There are three main types of dental bridges available:
Are made by creating a crown or implant on either side of the gap, with a pontic most often made of porcelain in between.
Are required when there are only teeth on one side of the gap.
Are made solely of porcelain or porcelain supported by a metal framework, with wings on each side of the bridge that are bonded to the existing teeth.
“You need to clean your bridge every day, to prevent problems such as bad breath and gum disease.” – British Dental Health Foundation
In order to ensure that your new bridges last as long as possible, it is important to maintain a good level of dental hygiene. With proper care, dental bridges can last 10 – 15 years. It is strongly advised that you brush and floss at least twice daily, making sure to clean thoroughly underneath the false tooth.