A bridge is a device that replaces one or more missing teeth. They come in a number of slightly different forms but all consist of an artificial tooth anchored to the natural teeth on either side of the gap.
Whether teeth are lost through accidents or decay, they have many functions apart from chewing and biting and there are various reasons for which they need to be replaced.
Some of these reasons include the following:
- to improve appearance
- to prevent stresses causing damage to other teeth
- to prevent teeth near the gap from shifting
- to maintain the natural bite
- to improve chewing ability
The preparation and fitting of a bridge is similar to that of a crown and also requires two appointments.
In the first appointment the teeth on either side of the gap are re-shaped making them smaller all around by 1-2mm.
Once the preparation has been completed an impression is taken and sent to a dental ceramist who makes the apparatus.
In the following appointment the re-shaped teeth are fitted with crowns which serve as anchors to hold the pontic (replacement) tooth/teeth in position and the whole piece is cemented into place.
A new bridge should last for many years, but, as with natural teeth, the lifespan depends on good oral hygiene and health. Regular dental check-ups are recommended as are brushing twice daily and flossing consistently.