Dental bridges are an option for replacing missing teeth. They are porcelain teeth, which are attached to neighbouring teeth with the purpose of filling gaps. The false tooth is known as a pontic and the anchoring tooth is known as a retainer. There are different types of bridges and your case will be assessed on an individual basis. When deciding whether you are suitable for bridgework, it is important that the anchoring teeth are strong enough to support a bridge. Dental bridges can be attached to your own teeth or to dental implants.
- When are dental bridges needed?
Bridges may be an option if you have one or more missing teeth. They are recommended for:
- 1) Improvement in appearance and your smile
- 2) Strengthen your bite
- 3) Alteration in speech
- 4) Improvement in facial appearance
- 5) Reduce probability of neighbouring teeth leaning into gap
- 6) Attachment to dental implants
- What are the different types of bridge? 1) Fixed bridge: This is the most common type of bridge. A false pontic tooth is attached to a crown on an anchoring tooth. Fixed bridges vary in length depending on how many teeth are being replaced by the bridge. 2) Resin bonded bridge: This type of bridge may be used when the neighbouring teeth are healthy and minimises removal of sound tooth tissue. Resin bonded bridges are usually used to replace only one missing tooth. The false pontic tooth is attached to the neighbouring tooth with a wing of metal.
- What are bridges made of? Most bridges are made of porcelain fused to metal, which combine strength with excellent aesthetics. Alternative materials include all porcelain bridges or all metal.
- How are bridges fitted? The first appointment is required for preparation of the anchoring teeth. Teeth are prepared by trimming away enough area to accommodate the metal and porcelain of the new bridge. A mould is taken using putty material, which is sent to the laboratory for fabrication of the bridge. A temporary bridge is fitted until your second appointment, which is usually 1-2 weeks. The colour of your bridge can be selected using a shade guide. The definitive bridge is made in a specialised dental laboratory. At your second appointment the final bridge is cemented using a specific dental adhesive. The bite will be checked and minor adjustments made as necessary.
- How long do dental bridges last? You can expect a fixed bridge to last around 7-10 years but it does depend on strength of anchoring teeth, the bite and how long the bridge is. Resin bonded bridges do not last as long as they are only held in place by a wing of metal. The longevity of your bridge will be discussed on an individual basis.
- How do I take care of my bridge? It is important to brush and floss on a daily basis. Super floss can be used to clean underneath the bridge. In addition, a healthy and balanced diet is also important to prevent decay from developing under the bridge.