If you feel embarrassed about gaps in your smile, a natural-looking dental bridge can successfully fill in those unsightly spaces and help restore your confidence. A longer lasting alternative to dentures, dental bridges are an effective way to replace one or more missing teeth. They consist of a false tooth, positioned between two crowns, which slot over the teeth either side of a gap (known as abutment teeth) or they can be held in place by dental implants. They are usually made from porcelain fused to a metal or ceramic base, to offer a blend of strength and good looks.
As well as restoring an incomplete smile, bridges can offer a host of other benefits, including:
- Improving how you eat and speak.
- Enhancing facial contours.
- Distributing the forces in your bite correctly.
- Preventing remaining teeth from moving out of position.
- The abutment teeth are prepared by removing a layer of enamel to ensure there will be sufficient room for the crowns.
- Impressions are taken so the bridge can be tailor-made to fit.
- While the bridge is being made, a temporary bridge may be put in place to protect the exposed teeth.
- When ready, the bridge is checked and adjusted to make sure it fits perfectly and it is finally fixed in place with strong dental cement.
As well as traditional bridges, featuring crowns and a false tooth in between, there are also cantilever bridges, for cases where there are teeth on only one side of the gap, and Maryland bonded bridges, which are attached to existing teeth with metal or ceramic wings.
Good oral hygiene is essential to ensure the longevity of your bridge. It is especially important to clean under the false tooth, as well as brushing and flossing regularly.
If bridges are well looked after, and that includes keeping the surrounding teeth healthy so they can continue to provide a solid foundation, they should last for over ten years.