What is a dental bridge?
A dental bridge is a treatment designed to replace a missing tooth (or teeth) and as such is similar to a denture or an implant.
Adult teeth may be lost in any number of ways, including accidental trauma, infection or poor gum health. Replacing missing teeth is important functionally because chewing, clear speech and jaw health can all be affected.
Replacing missing teeth has the added benefit of improving the look of your smile by filling spaces.
A dental bridge is a single artificial tooth (or series of teeth) fixed in the mouth. Bridges can be secured to an implant, or to adjacent teeth (in which case they provide additional strength in much the same way as a crown). The fact that they are fixed, and therefore do not need to be removed for cleaning and maintenance, makes dental bridges a very convenient solution. Another upside is superior aesthetics; because of the materials used to make the bridge, it is possible to achieve an opacity and a lustre that very closely resemble a natural tooth, with the result that you can’t detect any treatment.
Is a dental bridge suitable for you?
Dental bridges, otherwise known as fixed partial dentures, may be your ideal option to replace a tooth or teeth, with the goal of having the new appliance blend seamlessly with your surrounding natural teeth. Dental bridges can be used to replace between one and six missing teeth.
They are either anchored to relatively healthy teeth at each end or fixed to implants – which, to be viable, require dense, healthy underlying bone. Because of the excellent control that dental bridges offer over length, width, alignment and shade of the artificial teeth, this option is generally recommended when aesthetics are a priority.
Bridges are generally not suitable where seven or more teeth need to be replaced, in which case a denture would be a better alternative. They are not usually recommended where adjacent teeth are weak, or where there is inadequate bone density to place an implant.
In terms of affordability, bridges sit somewhere between removable dentures and implants.
What’s the procedure for treatment?
In cases where implants are not required, the treatment process to place a dental bridge involves the following three steps.
- Preparation of the area where your teeth are missing, and treatment of the surrounding teeth and gums to ensure they’re healthy. At each end of the gap, remaining teeth are prepared to create surfaces onto which the bridge can adhere.
- Taking of impressions. Core Dental Group then sends these to a quality Melbourne laboratory as the blueprint for your dental crown, which is created by hand. Your dentist will prepare and fix a temporary cap over the prepared teeth, significantly reducing the chances of sensitivity in the meantime.
- Removal of the temporary caps about two weeks later and replacement with your new dental bridge. Before permanently securing the bridge in place, your dentist will try it on over your teeth to ensure that you feel comfortable with the result.
In cases where the teeth at each end of a gap cannot be used to secure a dental bridge, dental implants may be used. These are titanium screws, surgically inserted into the bone below the gums, which provide a very stable foundation onto which your bridge can be fixed.