A bridge fixes a replacement tooth (or teeth) to your natural teeth on either side of the gap. There are many different types – some bridges have crowns at each end and others can be fixed to the surface of the tooth next to the gap. A bridge can sometimes only be fixed to the tooth one side of a gap, not both.
Bridges can be made of metal and porcelain, or sometimes just porcelain.
There are several stages in making a bridge. Your dentist will take a mould of your mouth so that a Dental Technician can make exact plaster models of your upper and lower teeth and gums. This helps them see how your teeth bite together.
The teeth that will be supporting the bridge are then prepared to take the fixings and make sure that the bridge will not be too bulky. Another mould is taken at this point of the prepared teeth. This is the mould the technician will use to make the bridge.
A plastic temporary bridge or crown may be fitted at this point, to protect your teeth until the permanent bridge is ready. This normally takes around 2 weeks.
At your second visit, your dentist will check and make sure the bridge fits well, and looks good before it is fixed permanently into place. They will check to make sure your teeth bite together well, and any adjustments will be made.
A bridge lets you almost forget that you have a missing tooth. It can improve the way you look, bite, chew and speak. They can be matched to the colour of your own teeth and look very natural.
A bridge can last many years if it is kept clean and no accidental damage occurs.
If you do not want a bridge, you can have a removable partial denture. The dentist will explain how successful a bridge could be. If your supporting teeth are not strong enough, a denture might be better. If you have had some teeth taken out, a denture might be made first, and a bridge fitted later when the gum has healed.