When a tooth is missing a bridge can be one option of restoring the gap. A bridge is a new porcelain replacement tooth which is held in position by the teeth beside the gap. The strength of the adjacent teeth always needs to be assessed and although usually the teeth either side of the gap will need to be included to support the new tooth replacement, sometimes only one is needed. The supporting tooth or teeth will need to be reduced in size by the dentist and a laboratory then needs to construct the new Bridge.
If the adjacent tooth is healthy enough sometimes an adhesive bridge can be made, which involves a thin metal plate bonded onto the back of the adjacent tooth. This does involve some drilling of the tooth, but it is less than other techniques and works very well for front teeth.
Unfortunately, due to the teeth either side of the gap, a bridge is not always suitable. Please ask your dentist for further information.
FAQs about Bridges
Why should I replace missing teeth?
Your appearance is one reason. Another is that the gap left by a missing tooth can mean greater strain on the teeth at 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.
How are missing teeth replaced?
This depends on the number of teeth missing and on where they are in the mouth. The condition of the other teeth also affects the decision.
Can I always have a bridge to replace missing teeth?
Unfortunately not. It will depend on the size of the gap, the positioning of the gap and the strength and bone levels of the adjacent teeth. Your dentist will help you decide the best way of replacing your missing teeth within your budget.
What are bridges made of?
Bridges are usually made of a precious metal base. If the bridge will show, porcelain is then bonded to the base. Sometimes, there are other non-precious metals used in the base to reduce the cost.
Are bridges expensive?
Although a bridge may seem expensive it will last many years. It will also improve your appearance and bite. A bridge uses the considerable skill of the dentist and technician, and in this way, it’s similar to ordering a piece of hand-made jewellery. The materials are expensive, which adds to the cost of the bridge.
How do I look after my bridge?
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 hygienist will show you how to use a bridge needle or special floss, as a normal toothbrush cannot reach.
Are there other methods for fixing false teeth?
There are other methods, such as using a combination of crowns and partial dentures that can keep the retaining clips out of sight.
These are quite specialised dentures, so you should ask your dentist about them. You can also have teeth implanted, ask your dentist for more information.
Remember that it’s as important to care for your remaining teeth as it is to replace the missing ones.
Are there different types of bridge?
Yes, there are different types of bridge which use different fixing methods. Your dentist will choose the most effective and conservative bridge for your personal situation.