If you are missing a few teeth then you may have been told that you need a dental bridge. This is a simple artificial appliance that uses false teeth to fill the gaps between your existing teeth, and can help you to get your natural smile back in no time. If you haven’t heard much about dental bridges before, then rest assured; the procedure is simple and almost always gives successful results.
Who can have a dental bridge?
Dental bridges are designed to fill a gap in the teeth – to do this they fit onto the teeth on either side of the gap, forming a ‘bridge’ between the two. Because the bridge is supported by these teeth, it is essential that they are strong and healthy. You will need to have these teeth checked to make sure that they (and the bone beneath them) are strong enough to support the bridge. If it is not, you will not be suitable for a bridge but may have to consider other methods of filling the gaps, such as dental implants or partial dentures. Ask your dentist for advice, as they will be able to tell you the best alternative options. If your teeth are strong enough to support a dental bridge, then you can continue with your consultation and book an appointment to go ahead with the procedure.
What will happen during my procedure?
Dental bridges can be fixed in position in one of two ways;
The bridge is supported by a crown on either end. The supporting teeth must be reduced in size initially, for the crowns to be fitted over the top and the bridge cemented in place. This is a very stable method, but does mean that the bridge cannot be removed for cleaning.
Dental bridges can also be fixed with adhesive to the back of each supporting tooth. This eliminates the need for crowns, so could be a more suitable option for people that aren’t keen on too much drilling!
It is advisable to ask your dentist about both methods before you go for your treatment. They will be able to advise you on both types of dental bridges, and you can choose which one would be most suitable.
How will it look afterwards?
Most dental bridges are made from porcelain, which looks almost identical to natural teeth, and can be coloured to suit your teeth perfectly. This is particularly important when your dental bridge will be sitting next to your natural teeth – it should blend in very discreetly. Dental bridges do need to be cleaned to keep them in good condition, and your dentist can show you how to do this. You will need to use a bridge needle or special floss, because normal brushing will not get behind the bridge and clean it sufficiently.
Tooth loss can often cause a lack of confidence and it may be difficult to eat or speak, but with dental bridges you can fill any gaps and your life can return to normal.