In the case of tooth loss, the remaining teeth have less surrounding support. They can sometimes move and shift position which could result in a poor bite, leading to functional and physiological problems. Not to mention the damage to self-confidence and mental wellbeing that can stem from that.
In this situation a dental bridge can be inserted to cover the gap. A false tooth is cemented to the teeth on either side and spans the gap, using the surrounding teeth as an anchor. This prevents the teeth shifting and therefore any problems associated with that.
There are a few different types of bridges:
- Traditional bridges – a routine procedure and the most common type of bridge
- Cantilever bridges – a more specialist procedure required when there is only one suitable tooth adjacent to the gap
- Maryland and bonded bridges – plastic or procelain teeth supported by a metal frame bonded to the adjacent teeth
The actual process is pretty similar to that of a dental crown. The teeth surrounding the gap act as abutments. The dentist usually smooths them down and removes some of the enamel to make them ready for the dental adhesive.
The whole process can be completed in a couple of appointments. The first appointment involves the dentist taking measurements in order to accurately build the bridge itself. A temporary bridge will usually be fitted to fill the gap while the bridge is produced. Once it is back with the dentist the patient will be called in again and the final bridge will be fitted.
When cared for properly, in many situations there is no reason dental bridges should not last a lifetime. A little bit of maintenance might be required now and then, but proper brushing and dedication to oral hygiene will keep them going strong for many years.If you are worried by the procedure we are even able to carry much of the work out under sedation