When a single tooth or a small number of teeth are missing we often replace them with a bridge. A bridge is a ceramic tooth created to fill the space caused by tooth loss. The replacement tooth is bonded to the surrounding existing teeth to create a natural look that is impossible to tell apart from the original tooth.
One of the biggest differences between a bridge and a denture is the fixing method. Where a denture must be removed every day, a bridge is a permanent solution that can be removed only by a dentist. Once in place it can be looked after much like a natural tooth and a well-maintained bridge will last many years.
A bridge is formed by attaching a ceramic tooth to the adjacent healthy teeth, either by crowning the adjacent natural teeth or by creating a metal wing to form a ‘resin bonded bridge’. There are a number of types of bridges and the method we use depends on a range of factors including the position within the arch and the strength of the teeth on either side.
The process is likely to be carried out over two or three visits. During the first visit we assess the work required, take an impression and ensure the best colour match. The bridge is then hand-made by one of the widely-respected dental technicians we use. During the second visit we fit the bridge and spend time adjusting the fitting to ensure maximum comfort and a natural bite.
A bridge is a popular long-term solution because the permanent fixing is stronger and more stable than a denture, and the dental process involved in fitting a bridge is more straightforward and less intrusive than an implant. We recommend a bridge when the surrounding teeth are healthy enough to provide strong, long-lasting support. In every case, we talk through the options and listen to our patients’ needs before we offer advice.