Dental Bridges

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Occasionally, dentists will need to remove rotten teeth or fill in spaces left by missing teeth. If this happens they use a technique called bridging, as offered at Bray Dental in North West London.

WHAT ARE DENTAL BRIDGES?

Technically called a pontic, a dental bridge is a false tooth that connects two adjacent teeth, the latter acting as an anchor to hold it in place. The two adjacent teeth are called crowns. Bridges or pontics are usually made from porcelain, alloys, gold or a mixture of materials. They are also designed to look like real teeth.

WHO WOULD BENEFIT FROM DENTAL BRIDGES?

Missing teeth can cause a number of oral problems, not least speech and eating. They can also alter the shape of the face as well as altering the ‘bite’ of the teeth. People with missing teeth who do not get urgent treatment are also putting themselves at greater risk of gum disease. Food more easily gets trapped in the space or gap left by missing teeth causing a cleaning problem.

Missing teeth need to be replaced to improve overall appearance, reduce the strain placed on adjacent teeth, prevent tooth distortion and prevent later problems. It also puts a smile back on your face.

TYPES OF BRIDGES

There are 3 kinds of bridges: traditional fixed bridges, bonded bridges and cantilever bridges.

Traditional fixed bridges are the commonest type used. They are generally made from porcelain as are the two adjacent crowns. As the name implies, the bridges are fixed.

Bonded bridges, sometimes called either Resin-bonded or Maryland-bonded bridges, are used when teeth either side of the gap are healthy or there is a large gap between the two front teeth.

Bonded bridges are made from plastic; the bonding is via metal bands using resin. The bonding is hidden from view.

Cantilever bridges are used where there are only teeth on one side of the space. Cantilevers are useful for front teeth where there is less stress.

WHAT IS THE PROCEDURE?

Two visits to the dentist are normally required. At the first appointment the area is prepared and an impression made which is sent to the dental laboratory. A temporary bridge is also likely to be made. At the same time, the dentist will use work to ensure the new bridge and crowns are as good a match to the original teeth as possible.

The second appointment involves fixing the bridge. Other visits may be required to make sure everything is OK.

LIFESPAN OF BRIDGES

Provided teeth are looked after, bridges can last for 10 – 15 years.

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