What is a Dental Bridge?

What is a Dental Bridge?

Dental bridges, like implants and partial dentures, are used to replace missing teeth.

A dental bridge is effectively a false tooth which is fused between two porcelain crowns to fill in or ‘bridge’ the area left by a missing tooth. The two crowns that hold the bridge in place are attached to your teeth on either side of the false tooth. The result is a fixed bridge. There are several types of fixed dental bridge including conventional fixed bridges, cantilever bridges and resin-bonded bridges.

Conventional bridges require shaping of the teeth surrounding a missing tooth. Cantilever bridges also require shaping, the difference being that cantilever bridges are used when there are teeth only on one side of the open space and are therefore more suitable in areas of the mouth that are under less stress, such as your front teeth. With both conventional and cantilever bridges, crown(s) are placed on the shaped teeth and attached to an artificial tooth (called a pontic). Resin bonded bridges require less preparation of adjacent teeth and are often used to replace front teeth, provided the gums are healthy and the surrounding teeth are in good shape.

A well cared for bridge will last as many as ten or more years. They can reduce your risk of gum disease, help correct bite issues and even improve your speech. Generally dental implants are longer lasting and have the advantage that adjacent teeth are preserved. Your dentist at Crescent Dental Limerick will discuss all your options with you in full including the costs involved in each alternative treatment option.

Dental Bridges Consultation & Treatment Planning

Once you and your dentist have determined that a bridge is the best replacement for your missing tooth or teeth, you will be advised of the different materials that can be used to fabricate the dental bridge. Bridges can be made of different materials such as non precious metals, metals, gold and porcelain. Material choice will depend on where in the mouth the bridge will be placed, the strength of your bite, whether or not you grind your teeth (bruxism) and other factors. For example if you have a very strong bite and the bridge is being placed at the back of the mouth where appearance is not crucial, we can make the whole bridge from zirconia which is an extremely durable white material, but not a perfect match for your own tooth. Usually the best appearance and longest lasting results will come from a porcelain and gold combination. This has gold on the inside for strength and fit, and porcelain on the outside for the best appearance.

Your Crescent dentist will take X-rays and impressions of the area requiring a bridge. Depending on the number of consecutive teeth you are missing your bridge could be three or more units; two crowns that are cemented to the teeth on wither side of the space (called abutments), plus one or more false teeth. (called pontics) to fill the space. Additional impressions will be taken after your dentist prepares the abutment teeth for the bridge.

The Dental Bridge Procedure

During your visit to Crescent Dental your dentist will prepare the teeth which will be used to support the bridge. If the support teeth are decayed  your dentist may need to repair these before proceeding. Next, a putty-like material is used to create an accurate model of your teeth. Your bridge is fabricated based on this model by our highly skilled lab technicians so that it precisely fits the prepared teeth. While your bridge is being fabricated at our laboratory you will be fitted with a temporary bridge until your permanent bridge is ready.

Dental Bridge Recovery & Post Procedure Care

Once your permanent bridge has been fitted your dentist will discuss how to maintain the performance and longevity of your restoration. A special bridge floss threader can help to clean the areas surrounding the bridge and between the pontic and underlying gum tissue. Proper brushing ideally using an electric toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste should be done at least twice per day as normal.

If you have replaced a partial denture with a porcelain bridge, or indeed for whatever reason you have had a bridge restoration at Crescent Dental, why not also discuss our teeth whitening options with your dentist to further lift the appearance of your smile.