Sometimes when a tooth is lost a space is left which can be unsightly, can cause difficulty in chewing or can result in movement of the adjacent teeth. There are many options for filling spaces including implant, dentures and dental bridge. If you have lost one or two teeth but would rather not wear a denture, you may want to opt for a bridge. Bridges are a series of crowns joined together to cover or close a space left by the loss of a tooth. They are permanent and once bonded into place will look and feel like a natural tooth.
Bridges can be supported by natural teeth or by implants. At Oxford Dental Centre we will check the health of your gums and the supported teeth to ensure that they are suitable for treatment and take appropriate measures if they are not. We will discuss all your options with you to ensure that you can keep your mouth healthy and your smile stunning with a well-fitting and natural looking bridge.
ADVANTAGES OF HAVING A DENTAL BRIDGE
The main advantages of having a dental bridge are:
- Great looks (aesthetics) – In a traditionally +fixed bridge, not only can you fill the space of the missing tooth, you can improve the colour and the shape of the teeth that you are crowning either side. Porcelain looks great, matches the natural teeth exceptionally well and is very resistant to staining.
- Not removable – A bridge is fixed in your mouth – you don’t have to worry about taking it out to clean it like a denture.
- Protective – If the teeth either side are heavily filled or broken down then by crowning these teeth as part of the bridge you are helping to strengthen them and replace your missing tooth at the same time.
- Long lasting – Studies have shown that fixed bridgework, like individual crowns, is very predictable, durable and lasts a considerable length of time.
- Relatively quick – A bridge in general takes only a little longer than a single crown and once the decision to make a bridge has been made, it generally takes two appointments from start to finish. This is a much quicker procedure than having an implant or even a partial denture.
- Less invasive than implants – Implants require one or more surgical procedures to place the implant. You may also require bone grafting if you have insufficient natural bone available. For anyone who is unable to undergo implant surgery for medical reasons, it is a great fixed alternative.
- Restore your smile – If you are missing numerous teeth, you probably look at old photographs and wish you can have that smile back. This wish can become a reality.
- Restore your ability to properly chew – Losing a few teeth may affect your bite. People often chew on one side if they are missing teeth on the opposite side. Over time, this may cause bite issues and even TMJ problems. Dental Bridges help you to distribute the forces in your bite properly by replacing missing teeth.
- Dental bridges help you speak properly – During speech, your tongue pushes against the back side of your upper teeth to achieve proper pronunciation. Missing teeth can quickly affect the way you talk.
- Maintain the shape of your face – Your facial musculature and your jaw bone may change over time if you are missing many teeth. Replacing lost teeth will help maintain your facial tone and prevent facial changes.
- Prevent remaining teeth from drifting out of position – Whenever a tooth is lost, the teeth around the space tend to shift, tilt, or drift into that space. A dental bridge would prevent undesired changes in the nearby teeth.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Why would I need a Bridge?
Dental bridges consist of an artificial tooth that is used to fill a gap where a tooth has fallen out or been removed. Therefore, a bridge may be recommended if you’re missing one or more teeth. Gaps left by missing teeth eventually cause the remaining teeth to rotate or shift into the empty spaces, resulting in a bad bite. The imbalance caused by missing teeth can also lead to gum disease and joint disorders.
If you are missing a single tooth or several teeth, don’t delay. Come in for an examination and discuss your options with our dental team.
How are Dental Bridges Made?
Before a bridge can be made, the adjacent tooth (or teeth) must be reduced in size so that the crown or bridge will fit over it properly. After reducing the tooth/teeth, our dentist will take an impression to provide an exact mould for the crown or bridge. If porcelain is to be used, our dentist will determine the correct shade for the crown or bridge to match the colour of your existing teeth. Using this impression, our dental laboratory then makes your crown or bridge.
Will the bridge feel normal?
The bridge will probably feel very ‘high’ for the first few days. After a week or two the teeth will move slightly so that your ‘bite’ feels normal again.
How long will the bridge last?
Generally dental bridges last for between six to eight years, depending on a patient’s oral hygiene and how well the teeth are looked after. In some circumstances, a dental bridge can last over ten years.
How does a dental bridge affect speech?
If you have had speech problems because of missing teeth, a dental bridge should help you speak more clearly.
How should I care for a dental bridge?
As with all dental procedures, good oral hygiene is important after having a bridge fitted. Because a dental bridge is reliant on the surrounding teeth, if these remain strong and healthy, they will offer the bridge a secure foundation. Daily brushing at least twice a day, flossing after meals and using a mouthwash will help keep teeth healthy and prevent decay and gum disease.
Furthermore, avoiding sugary foods and keeping to a healthy, nutritious diet will also maintain tooth and gum health.
Why should I replace missing teeth?
Your appearance is one reason. You may need a dental bridge to restore an attractive, natural smile. Many people who lose a front tooth or have a noticeable space between front teeth become self-conscious about smiling. They may think they appear unattractive to others.
Another reason is when you lose a tooth the gap left by a missing tooth can mean more strain is put on the teeth at either side. Also, the resulting gap between surrounding teeth can widen as these teeth shift or rotate out of position. When our dentists insert a bridge to close the gap, healthy alignment of your teeth is restored for normal chewing, speaking and smiling.
How are missing teeth replaced?
There are three main ways to replace missing teeth. The first is with a removable false tooth (or teeth) – called a partial Denture. The second is with a fixed bridge. A bridge is usually used when there are fewer teeth to replace, or when the missing teeth are only on one side of the mouth. The third way is using Dental Implants. This is where an artificial root is placed into the bone of the jaw and a crown or bridge placed on top of this.
What are bridges made of?
Bridges are usually made of porcelain bonded to precious metal. Sometimes other non-precious metals are used in the base for strength. There are also new bridges made entirely of a special type of strong porcelain.
How do I know which bridge to get?
That depends on what is being replaced. First ask yourself, are there teeth to both sides of the gap that I have? If not, then your options are considerably limited, as the floating bridge that is hooked up at both sides of gap is out of question. If only one side has teeth next to it, then a cantilever bridge is the way to go. If there are no teeth to both sides of it, then a denture or implants would be the options.
The other thing to consider is how many teeth you are getting replaced, and if you are thinking of getting Dental Implants.
If you have any specific question about Dental Bridges please use our Consultation Booking tool to book your initial consultation online or call us on 01865 515 806.