Bridges are a common method of replacing one or more missing teeth, by spanning the gap where the teeth are missing. Bridges, like crowns are cemented to natural teeth and are fixed.
Bridges are made of a choice of materials depending on the location in the mouth, function, cosmetics and cost. Porcelain metal bridges and all-porcelain bridges are the most common.
Bridges are normally made of porcelain with a metal substructure. The porcelain gives the cosmetics and the metal the strength and good fit. Porcelain metal bridges are similar to porcelain metal crowns in aesthetics, due to the metal substructure the translucency is not the same as natural teeth. However, our skilled Lab Technician is able to make cosmetic bridges and will work with you.
Why replace a missing tooth by a bridge?
There are many reasons why a bridge is needed. Cosmetics are the most obvious reason but function is equally as important. Spaces left by missing teeth eventually cause major problems to the remaining teeth setting up a “domino effect”. The remaining teeth can rotate, over-erupt and shift resulting in a collapse of your bite, gum disease and joint/jaw problems.
It is unpredictable how many of these problems will develop, but it is important to realize the possible consequences for not replacing a missing tooth.
An implant is another option for replacing a missing tooth and also prevents these problems.
What is involved in making the bridge?
Normally it will take two or more appointments depending on the difficulty and size of the bridge. Each appointment is aimed to make the best possible bridge.
Similar to making a crown, the first step is to prepare the teeth by slightly reducing them so the bridge can cover them. An impression is taken and sent to the Lab Technician who will make the bridge. The shade will be taken or if a difficult shade we will recommend for you to visit the Technician. A tooth coloured temporary bridge will be made in the meantime and cemented with temporary cement.
When eating with the temporary bridge it is important not to eat hard or sticky foods or you may knock it loose. If the temporary comes loose it is important that it is re-cemented by us.
Looking after your bridge
It is not possible to predict how long a bridge will last and with proper care it should last a long time. However, some insurance companies will for a new bridge after five years.
Bridges require proper care and maintenance to last as long as possible. The teeth supporting the bridge are still susceptible to decay, especially at the margin of the tooth and bridge.
Daily flossing under the bridge with “Superfloss” and twice daily brushing will help to keep your bridge healthy and prevent decay and gum disease. Decay and gum disease can lead to the bridge being lost. It is also important to attend for regular dental check-ups to check your bridge and maintain it.
The sooner any problem can be addressed the less expensive and time consuming it will be for you.
Any surgical or invasive procedure carries risks. Before proceding you should seek a second opinion from an appropriately qualified health practitioner.