What is a bridge?
A dental bridge is a common, affordable, low-risk treatment for missing teeth which helps to restore your smile and improve speech. A fixed bridge replaces missing teeth with artificial teeth and “bridges” the gap where one or more teeth used to be. Bridges can be made from gold, metal, porcelain or a combination of these materials and are attached to surrounding teeth for support.
How do I know if I am a candidate for a bridge?
Anyone who is missing one to three consecutive teeth is a candidate for a dental bridge. Those who are missing a larger number of teeth may be better suited to a fixed or removable partial denture.
What to expect when getting a bridge
Getting a bridge requires at least two visits, sometimes more.
- On the first visit, your dentist prepares the teeth and covers them with temporary crowns. The process of creating a bridge starts with creating abutments out of your existing teeth where the bridge will be attached. After the abutments have been created, a mold is taken of the area and is sent to a dental lab.
- The dentist will fit you with a temporary bridge while waiting for the lab to craft your permanent bridge. This will protect the abutments and the exposed gum areas and look more appealing than having a missing tooth.
- Once the permanent bridge has been created, you will have a follow-up visit to set the bridge. It will be placed on the abutments, and the dentist will then use an adhesive to make sure that the
Benefits of a bridge
- Unlike a removable partial denture, which you can take out, a fixed bridge is cemented with permanent cement and can only be removed by a dentist. Some individuals find this option much more convenient.
- No matter what type of bridge a patient receives, the restoration will have significant aesthetic and practical benefits. The new teeth will restore dental functionality and oral health. Additionally, today’s dental bridges are virtually indistinguishable from natural teeth.
Maintenance for a bridge
On average, bridges last five to seven years. One reason bridges can fail is that new cavities may develop on the supporting teeth. These cavities can occur due to poor oral hygiene. With proper hygiene, which includes flossing your teeth under the bridge, they will last longer.
Regular maintenance should include brushing with fluoride toothpaste twice a day and flossing daily. Visit your dentist regularly for checkups and professional cleanings. To prevent damage, avoid chewing hard foods, candy or ice.