A dental bridge is another means of filling a gap in the teeth; a bridge is made up of a false tooth, which is supported by two crowns that hold it in place.
Types of bridge
There are three types of bridge; these include a traditional fixed bridge, the cantilever bridge and the resin bonded bridge. The traditional fixed bridge is the most popular type of bridge; this bridge consists of a false tooth and two crowns which attach the new tooth to the teeth on either side. The cantilever bridge is used when there are only teeth on one side of the gap; the bridge anchors the false tooth to the teeth on that side; as the tooth is supported on one side only, this bridge is not as strong as others so it is usually used for the front teeth. Resin bonded bridges (also known as Maryland bonded bridges) are used when the teeth on either side of the missing tooth are healthy and strong; the new tooth is attached and fixed to the neighbouring teeth using a metal band. Unlike dentures, dental bridges are fixed into the mouth and cannot be removed.
What are dental bridges made of?
In most cases, dental bridges are made of a combination of porcelain and precious metal; this means the bridge is strong, whilst still looking light and natural.
Why are dental bridges needed?
Dental bridges are used to fill in gaps left by missing or severely damaged teeth; it is important to replace missing teeth as gaps in the teeth can cause problems with a persons bite, which can cause discomfort as well as troubles with their speech and the way they eat. Gaps in the teeth also make the smile less attractive to look at; this can make people feel self-conscious when they smile which can change the way they act around other people.
How long do dental bridges last?
Dental bridges should last up to 15 years if they are well looked-after. Patients are advised to attend regular appointments with their dentist to ensure the bridge still fits; sometimes the position of the bridge has to be altered very slightly as the shape of the mouth changes; this is a very quick and painless process.
Are dental bridges available on the NHS?
In many cases dental bridges are available on the NHS; it is best to ask your dentist about this.
How much do dental bridges cost?
Having a bridge fitted on the NHS should cost in the region of £200. Having the treatment done privately will cost considerably more; patients should expect to pay around £800 for a bridge, although costs vary according to which dentist or clinic you choose to visit. It is advisable to check the costs of your treatment before you agree to have it.
Looking after the dental bridge
In order to keep the bridge and surrounding teeth healthy, it is important to take good care of the bridge; this involves cleaning it regularly, brushing the teeth frequently and flossing. It is important to keep the neighbouring teeth healthy as they act as an anchor for the bridge.
Eating with a dental bridge
For a short period of time after the bridge is fitted the false tooth may be slightly sensitive to temperature and may feel slightly weak when eating; it is best to try and avoid hard foods and very hot or very cold foods and drinks to begin with. In the long-term having a dental bridge should not affect a persons diet and they should be able to eat and drink whatever they want.