Dental bridges are used to replace missing teeth. The gap created by the missing tooth is bridged by fixing an artificial tooth (pontic) that is anchored in place by attaching it to the teeth (abutments) either side of the gap.
Reasons for replacing missing teeth include:
- Improve smile and appearance
- Help chewing and spreading of load throughout dentition
- Prevent tipping and rotation of adjacent teeth into the gap
- Restore how the upper and lower teeth bite together
Bridges are usually made from a mixture of metals and porcelain, and will be matched to the colour of your natural teeth. They are fixed in place with a dental cement, and with proper maintenance and monitoring should last for 10+ years. Usually manufacturing a conventional bridge will take 2 appointments that are 2 weeks apart. At the first visit the teeth-adjacent to the gap are prepared, impressions are taken and a temporary bridge made and fitted. At the second visit, the temporary bridge is removed and the laboratory made permanent bridge cemented in place.
Alternatively, the Cerec 3D machine can be used to manufacture an all-ceramic, metal-free permanent bridge on site without the need for impressions, a temporary bridge, or a second visit to fit the bridge. The teeth are prepared and the Cerec 3D manufactured bridge fitted at the same visit.
Other options for replacing missing teeth include:
- Dental implants
- Removable dentures
- Resin-retained bridges
In some instances, mainly when replacing teeth towards the front of the mouth, instead of using conventional bridges then resin-retained bridges can be used to replace missing teeth. These don’t require so much tooth tissue being removed when preparing the adjacent teeth for the bridge. When fitted, the resin-retained bridge attaches to the back of the teeth rather than over the prepared teeth. Your dentist will discuss which treatment best suits your individual needs.