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bridges

Bridges offer a permanent, fixed replacement for one or more missing teeth. The teeth either side of the gap are prepared by your dentist and the replacement teeth are bonded to these teeth to 'bridge the gap'.

Using a bridge helps prevent the remaining teeth from drifting out of position if an empty space is left uncorrected which can cause bite problems and some discomfort.
Basic bridges are made of metal. For a more natural look, the metal can be covered in a thin layer of porcelain which gives a tooth-like appearance to the bridge. Alternatively, the bridge can be hand-made by a skilled dental technician, wholly from porcelain, with the end result being virtually indistinguishable from the real thing.

Bridges are usually used where there are fewer teeth to replace, or when the missing teeth are only on one side of the mouth. An impression is taken of the mouth, using a soft mouldable material. This impression is used to build exact plaster models of the upper and lower teeth and gums, which demonstrates how the teeth bite together.

Your teeth that will support the bridge are then prepared to take the fixings and to ensure that the bridge is not too bulky.

A second impression is then taken of the teeth and any gaps. This is used to build the bridge to the exact size, shape and colour required.

Whilst the bridge is being made, a temporary plastic bridge or crown may be fitted.

When the bridge is ready, it will be fitted and small adjustments made to ensure a comfortable bite is maintained, before it is fixed in place.

Following the fitting, additional and regular oral hygiene care is required. If it is kept clean and providing there is no accidental damage, a bridge can last for many years. Your dentist or dental hygienist will recommend an appropriate home care regime.

Bridges fall within an area of dentistry known as Prosthodontics.

FAQ

  • Q: What is a Prosthodontist?
    A: A Prosthodontist is a dentist who has specialised in the replacement of missing teeth and the rebuilding of natural teeth. In order to be registered as a dental specialist, three additional years of full-time study, or equivalent part-time study, are required along with additional examinations and qualifications.

  • Q: Why should I replace missing teeth?
    A: Your appearance is one reason. Another is that the gap left by a missing tooth can mean greater strain is put on the teeth either side. A gap can also mean your bite is affected, because the teeth next to the space can lean into the gap and alter the way the upper and lower teeth bite together. This can then lead to food getting packed into the gap, which causes both decay and gum disease.

  • Q: Can I have a bridge fitted straight after having a tooth removed?
    A: It can take up to 6 months for the gums to heal properly after an extraction. In most cases, you may need to wait at least 6 months after an extraction, before a bridge is fitted. Your dentist will be able to advise you on this, and suggest any temporary treatment available to fill the gap in your teeth whilst you wait.

  • Q: Can I always have a bridge fitted to replace missing teeth?
    A: Bridges are only possible if you have enough strong teeth with good bone support. Your dentist will help you decide which is the best way for you to replace missing teeth.

  • Q: How do I look after my bridge?
    A: You need to clean your bridge every day, to prevent problems such as bad breath and gum disease. You also have to clean under the false tooth every day. Your dentist or dental hygienist will show the most effective techniques to do this.