What is a bridge? A bridge fixes a replacement tooth (or teeth) to natural teeth on either side of the gap. Some bridges have crowns at each end, others are fixed to the surface of the teeth next to the gap. These bridges make use of adhesive materials to ensure minimal tooth preparation.
Just like crowns and veneers, bridges can be made from a variety of different materials. High-end porcelain bridges are individually hand-crafted by skilled dental ceramicists and designed to emulate your natural teeth as closely as possible so no one can tell you are missing a tooth.
When is a bridge needed? Bridges are used to replace missing teeth. Appearance is one consideration, however, there are health reasons too. Teeth on either side of a gap can lean into the gap and alter the way the lower and upper teeth bite together, causing problems with your jaw. It can become more difficult to eat and food can also get packed into the gap, leading to both decay and gum disease.
What are the alternatives? If you don’t want a bridge, one alternative is a partial denture. This is a plate with a number of false teeth on it. It may have clasps metal/ tooth coloured to keep the denture in place in the mouth, some of which may show when you smile or open your mouth. Dentures are generally removed at night and must be carefully cleaned. There are a variety of different material options such as acrylic, flexible acrylic, and chrome depending on your individual needs.
Dental implants are an alternative to dentures and unlike dentures are not removable. Though a more costly procedure these provide patients with a tooth replacement option that is independent of other teeth ie. other teeth are not required to support the missing tooth/teeth.
Please refer to our section on dental implants for more information.