Bridges are natural-looking tooth replacements that help maintain facial structure, reduce stress on the jaw and fill in the gaps caused by missing teeth. Fixed bridges are cemented to the existing teeth and do not come out. Removable bridges can be taken out.
What do bridges do?
A bridge can be used to:
- Restore your smile
- Reduce your risk of gum disease
- Restore your ability to bite and chew
- Improve your speech
- Prevent remaining teeth from drifting out of position.
What are the different types of bridges?
There are three main types of bridges:
- Traditional bridges, also known as fixed bridges, are used to replace one or more missing teeth. The procedure involves creating a crown for the tooth or implant on either side of the missing tooth, with a pontic (false tooth) in between. Unlike dentures, fixed bridges cannot be taken out of your mouth. These are the most common type of bridge and are made either of porcelain fused to metal or of ceramics.
- Resin bonded bridges, also known as Maryland bonded bridges, are primarily used for your front teeth. They are less expensive than fixed bridges and are best when the teeth are healthy and do not have any large fillings. A false tooth is fused with resin to metal bands that are bonded to the adjacent teeth and hidden from view. Resin bonded bridges require minimal preparation of the adjacent teeth.
- Cantilever bridges are used in areas of your mouth that are under low amounts of stress, such as your front teeth. Cantilever bridges are recommended when there are teeth on only one side of the open space.
What is the procedure like?
First, the adjacent teeth must be prepared. This involves removing some of the enamel to allow room for the crown to be placed over them.
Next, impressions of your teeth are made. These will be sent to a laboratory so we can create the bridge, pontic, and crowns to fit your unique mouth. This may take 2 to3 weeks. While your bridge is being made, you will be given a temporary bridge to protect the exposed teeth and gums.
On your next visit, your temporary bridge will be removed and replaced with the new, permanent bridge. Your doctor will make sure the bridge fits properly and then cement it to your teeth.
What can I expect after the bridge is put in?
Replacing missing teeth should make eating easier, but until you get used to the bridge, it is recommended that you eat soft food cut into small pieces. For a few weeks after receiving a bridge, it is common to experience increased sensitivity to extreme temperatures. You should start noticing a difference when you speak, as your speech will become clearer.
How long will my bridge last?
With good oral hygiene, you can expect your bridge to last from 5 to 15 years, sometimes longer. You must remember to practice proper oral hygiene to prevent the build-up of bacteria on your teeth and gums.