A dental bridge replaces a tooth or teeth by being fixed to either one or both of the neighbouring natural teeth. The artificial tooth that fills the gap hovers over the gum very closely providing a natural look but also a strong structure on which to bite on.
What types of bridges exist?
There are two distinct types of dental bridges that exist:
- Conventional Bridges – these involve the bridge covering the entirety of the neighbouring support teeth. This requires significant amount of reshaping of the neighbouring teeth in the same way that a tooth is made ready for a dental crown, before the conventional bridge is cemented over them.
- Adhesive Bridges – these involve either little or no reshaping of a neighbouring tooth and use a metal or ceramic wing to stick the false tooth to a neighbouring tooth. Adhesive bridges are only suitable in certain scenarios. Your dentist will advise you whether this is an option for you.
Advantages & Disadvantages of Bridges
Bridges are a great way of replacing missing teeth. They are fixed in the mouth so you do not need to remove these at night like you would with dentures. Compared with implants, bridges have the advantage that they can usually be made in a shorter timespan and that there is not the psychological obstacle of having surgery of the gum.
The downside of bridges are that they rely on the health and support of the neighbouring teeth. If the neighbouring teeth supporting the bridge become compromised, such as a hole or an infection, the whole bridge can become compromised. As conventional bridges require preparation of the adjacent teeth, this can occasionally compromise these teeth, requiring a root treatment on the supporting tooth at a later date. Adhesive Bridges do have the risk of detaching from the neighbouring tooth. However, these can be taken back to your dentist to be recemented without damage to the existing teeth.