Missing teeth can have a devastating effect on the smile and function of your teeth. The teeth have many important functions, they help you eat the food you love, speak properly and support facial structure to maintain an attractive appearance. Even one missing tooth can negatively impact your smile and compromise your oral health. Bridges are an excellent cosmetic and functional way to replace missing teeth.
What is a dental bridge?
A bridge is a dental device which contains one or more prosthetic teeth to replace missing teeth and complete your smile. A bridge looks like dental crowns which have been fused together and are constructed by preparing the teeth either side of the gap to receive the dental crowns, or by using adhesive techniques to anchor the bridge to the neighbouring teeth.
Nowadays bridges are used less commonly with the increasing use of dental implants but they deservedly have their place in the dentists treatment options and are very useful to replace missing teeth in cases where the neighbouring teeth require crowning anyway or where the bone volume and quality are not sufficient for implant placement.
On some occasions dental bridges will give a much superior aesthetic and functional outcome than dental implants and are the first choice recommendation.
Why would I need a bridge?
If you are missing teeth a bridge can:
- Support lips and cheeks to restore an attractive facial shape
- Optimize oral health by spreading the load and decreasing stress on gums and other tissues caused by missing teeth.
- Decreases the risk of gum disease
- Improve clarity of speech
What is the procedure?
Following a comprehensive examination and treatment planning usually with a wax mock up having been constructed, the dentist will prepare the teeth either side of the missing tooth, take an impression and make a temporary bridge or simply take an impression of the neighbouring teeth if using an adhesive bridge and send it to a trusted laboratory for custom manufacture of your bridge.
The final visit involves careful removal of any temporary bridge, trial of the definitive bridge and cementing of the bridge to the neighbouring teeth to secure it in place.
How do I care for a dental bridge?
It is important to protect your investment in your smile by using a good tooth brushing regime just as you would around natural teeth and using dental floss to carefully clean under the prosthetic teeth and around the neighbouring teeth.