• 01 JUN 16


    What are they?

    A bridge replaces a missing tooth/missing teeth by attaching a false tooth/ false teeth to adjacent teeth in the mouth. A bridge is not removable and is cemented to the adjacent tooth/ teeth to the gap in your mouth. There are different types of bridges, your dentist will explain the differences. A bridge may not be possible if the bite is inadequate, the gap too large or adjacent teeth too weak. A bridge is most likely to be made with porcelain fused to metal. The alternatives to bridges are dentures or implants. (Implants are not available on the NHS).

    What will NHS Dentist do?

    • It is most important that the supporting tooth/teeth are ‘strong’ enough to support a bridge.
    • They will normally give you an injection to numb the area. As a general rule you should not eat or have hot drinks until the injection has worn off.
    • They will shape the adjacent tooth/teeth so that the bridge may be attached.
    • Preparation time will depend on if and/or how damaged the adjacent tooth/teeth are and whether they need to be built up with a filling first.
    • The tooth/teeth might have to be root-filled first – this is sometimes called ‘removing the nerve. The bridge is sometimes held in place by a peg in the root canal if a lot of the tooth is missing.
    • Your dentist will use a soft, mouldable material to make an exact ‘impression’ of the tooth/teeth that will support the bridge and the nearby teeth. A dental technician uses an impression to make the bridge the exact height and size needed.
    • A temporary crown made of plastic or metal is put over the tooth/teeth until the bridge is made. The temporary crown will not be as strong as the finished bridge and may come off as it is fixed on lightly so as not to damage your tooth when we have to take it off.
    • When the bridge is fitted, your dentist may need to make small adjustments to make sure you can bite comfortably. The bridge is tried on first and then glued into place.

    What are the benefits?

    • A bridge is strong and can look and feel like a natural tooth. The colour and shape can be matched to your own teeth.
    • As it does not need to be removed it is more convenient that a denture.
    • Depending on the strength of the tooth/teeth underneath, a bridge can last for many years if you look after your mouth and teeth and the crown is not accidentally damaged.

    What are the disadvantages?

    • Two neighbouring teeth will have to be sacrificed to replace one.
    • You will not be able to floss between the bridged teeth as they are fused together.
    • The gum under the bridge will be difficult to clean.

    Risks of this treatment

    • Bridges can debond (unstick) and come off – they can sometimes be recemented
    • Porcelain fused on to metal can fracture
    • Sensitivity to extreme temperatures can be expected from newly crowned vital teeth. If it persists then the tooth may need root canal treatment.
    • Gums may recede around the crown margins revealing a thin metal line. Good oral hygiene reduces the progress of this problem. Once the tooth preparation is done on your natural tooth, you will never be able to go without a crown.– It is your choice whether you wish to undertake this procedure.