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Why should I replace missing teeth?

Your appearance is one reason. Another is that the gap left by a missing tooth can mean greater strain is put on the teeth at either side. A gap can also mean your "bite" is affected, because the teeth next to the space can lean into the gap and alter the way the upper and lower teeth bite together. This can then lead to food getting packed into the gap, which causes both decay and gum disease.

What is a bridge?

A bridge fixes a replacement tooth (or teeth) to the natural teeth on either side of the gap. Some bridges have crowns at each end while others are fixed to the surface of the teeth next to the gap. What are bridges made of?

Bridges usually made of porcelain bonded to precious metal. Sometimes, there are other non-precious metals used in the base for strength. There are also new bridges made entirely of a special type of strong porcelain.

How is a bridge prepared?

The dentist will prepare the teeth to the ideal shape for the bridge to be fitted on to. This will involve removing most of the outer surface, and leaving a stronger inner core. Once the tooth has been shaped, the dentist will then take an impression (mould) of the teeth and one of the opposite jaw.

Your moulds are then sent to the dental technician so that they can make your bridge. It takes the dental technician two weeks to make your crown.

What happens in between appointments?

A temporary bridge/crown made of plastic or metal will be fixed over the teeth until the permanent bridge is made. You can chew on the temporary bridge but it won’t be as strong as the finished one.

How is the bridge fitted?

The dentist will try your bridge in to make sure it fits, and if you are happy they will fix it in place with special dental cement or adhesive. The cement forms a seal to hold the bridge in place.

Does it hurt to have a tooth prepared for a bridge?

No, you will have a local anaesthetic and the preparation should feel no different from a filling.

How do I care for my bridge?

You need to clean your bridge every day, to prevent problems such as bad breath and gum disease. You also have to clean under the false tooth every day. Your dentist or hygienist will show you how to use a bridge needle or special floss, as a normal toothbrush cannot reach.

Is a bridge the only option for my missing teeth?

No it is not, you could be a suitable candidate for a denture, or even an implant. Click on the links to find out more about the other options.

What are the benefits of a dental bridge?