A bridge can replace missing teeth by “bridging” the gap between two teeth.
In fixed bridges, the neighbouring tooth or teeth to the gap (abutments) are trimmed down to make room for a crown and this is fused to a false tooth. This is then cemented on to the abutment(s).
Bridges are made from metal and porcelain or sometimes just porcelain.
The benefits of fixed bridges are that
- They are cemented in and so cannot be removed like a denture.
- They can prevent the neighbouring teeth from moving or tiltin.g
- They can restore function, speech and appearance.
The risks include
- The teeth that are trimmed down (abutments) can decay, or the nerve within them die and cause infection.
- Gum disease, if you do not keep this clean, including under the false tooth.
- The bone under the false tooth can recede and leave a gap where food can trap and which loses its appearance.
Resin retained bridges are “stuck” onto the neighbouring tooth. These require little or no preparation to the surrounding teeth and so the chances of damage to the nerve is reduced. If they fail they can usually be cleaned and “glued” back.
What does it involve?
For a fixed bridge the dentist has to prepare the neighbouring tooth to take the crown. This will involve removing part of the outer layer to make room for the thickness of the crown.
Once this is done, an impression needs to be taken of the prepared tooth so that a dental technician can construct the bridge. You will need another appointment so the dentist can fit the bridge to the teeth.
It is imperative that you clean this as well as your normal teeth as decay can occur round the junction of the tooth and the crown.
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