When missing teeth leave a gap in your smile, a bridge can be used to replace the teeth. At Bank View Smile Studios we use the finest materials to create you a custom-made, real-looking replacement.
A dental bridge essentially consists of:
- A pontic (false tooth) sits on the healed gum taking the place of the missing tooth and can me made from gold alloys, porcelain or a combination of these materials.
- Two retainers which are crowns covering the teeth either side of the missing tooth, which serve to anchor the pontic in place. These are made from the same material as the pontic and are linked together as a strong unit.
What treatment or problems are bridges used for?
Bridges are recommended when there are one or more teeth missing that affect:
- Your smile and appearance.
- Your bite, as a result of adjacent teeth leaning into the space and altering the way the upper and lower teeth bite together.
- Your speech.
- The shape of your face.
- The rates of gum disease and tooth decay as a result of food accumulated in the gap.
There are three main types of dental bridges:
- Traditional fixed bridge
This is the most commonly used version and consists of a pontic fused between two porcelain crowns that are anchored on neighbouring teeth or implants . The pontic is usually made of either porcelain fused to metal or all ceramic/porcelain. These are fixed and cannot be removed.
- Resin-bonded bridges or Maryland-bonded bridges
This is a good option when the gap is in between the front teeth, or when the teeth on either side of the missing tooth are strong and healthy. A false tooth can be fitted to the gum and fixed to the neighbouring tooth/teeth using a ‘wing’ usually made of metal with minimal preparation of only the inner (tongue/palate facing surface), preserving nearly all the tooth tissue.
- Cantilever bridges
This design is adopted in areas such as the front teeth which are susceptible to lower stress or when there are teeth present on only one side of the space. In this case the false tooth is anchored to only one adjacent tooth.
How are dental bridges fitted?
The teeth on either side of the gap (or on one side in the case of the cantilever design) are prepared under local anesthesia. An impression (mould) is taken of the teeth and sent to a dental laboratory to make the bridge (pontic and retainers). A shade guide is used to determine the right shade that resembles the natural colour variations in your teeth. This may take two to three weeks. In the meantime at Bank View Smile Studios a temporary bridge is fitted to protect the exposed gums and prepared teeth.
At the second appointment the temporary bridge is removed and the custom-made bridge is fitted, checked for its fit and bite, and adjusted accordingly. It is then cemented into place. Multiple visits are often required to check and adjust the fit.
How long will dental bridges last?
Dental bridges can last 10-15 years, provided that you maintain good dental hygiene and dental habits, attend the dentist and hygienist regularly.