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Dental Bridges

dental bridge cartoonBridges are a restoration that’s designed to replace missing teeth. It’s designed as a single, multi-tooth unit with functional crowns on either end that are placed over the teeth adjacent to the missing one, with a false tooth suspended between them. A bridge can be made of ceramic, porcelain fused to a metal base or gold.

Benefits of Dental Bridges

A fixed dental bridge is ideal for people who don’t qualify for dental implants (such as individuals on bisphosphonates or with extensive bone loss). Since bridges are permanently affixed in place, they’re ideal for individuals who may not want to wear a removable partial denture.
Read More About the Benefits

If you’ve had a tooth that’s been missing for a long period of time and want to avoid a bone graft or sinus surgery, a dental bridge is usually the best solution.

Each bridge is selectively designed so that it mimics the appearance of the teeth adjacent to it. When you smile, the restoration blends in with your overall mouth, as the exact shade and hue of the porcelain is matched to your surrounding tooth enamel. Although they’re not considered cosmetic treatments, bridges can enhance the look of your smile by aesthetically addressing the effects of tooth loss.

With proper care and maintenance, a dental bridge can last upwards to 7-8 years.

However, there are some disadvantages to dental bridges. For instance, they require alteration to the adjacent teeth for the crowns to fit in place. If your tooth doesn’t have existing dental work or would benefit from added protection, a bridge may not be the best solution for your needs. Individuals with gum disease and bone loss around the supporting teeth may not qualify for a bridge, since those teeth are not stable enough. Heavy clenching and grinding are also a contraindication for bridge treatment.

Additionally, bridges can only replace one or two teeth at a time. Having anything longer than that anchored onto two natural teeth could compromise the overall integrity of the restoration and supporting teeth. If you’re missing several teeth in a row, consider asking about dental implants or a removable partial denture instead. Additionally, we can combine implants with dental bridges to address larger areas with multiple missing teeth.

Cleaning Your New Bridge

Since bridges are suspended over your gums, they can harbor food particles and debris between the restoration and your tissues, as well as against the supporting teeth. You’ll want to take special care to clean under your appliance and around each tooth to prevent unwanted decay or gum disease.

Super floss is one of the best oral hygiene aids to have on hand. It’s thick like a pipe cleaner, with stiff floss-like ends, making it easy to slide under the bridge. As you pull it through the other side, you can wipe back and forth under the restoration, as well as wrap the floss around each supporting tooth to clean along the margin and just under the gumlines.

Although the bridge itself can’t get dental decay, the supporting teeth can. It’s crucial to floss them daily and clean along the gums to remove the same bacterial plaque that form around other teeth in your mouth.

Bridges on Dental Implants

Dental Bridge on Implants IllustrationIn most situations, dental bridges and implants are used for the same purpose: replacing a missing tooth. However, we can also use them together to restore multiple missing teeth when the only other alternative is to wear a removable partial denture.

Instead of having an appliance that you take in and out each day (a partial) we can permanently anchor a longer dental bridge on top of a pair of implants. So rather than an individual implant or bridge that replaces a single tooth, we’re using them jointly to restore up to 3-4 teeth at a time.

What to Expect During Treatment

Getting a dental bridge is a similar process to what you would expect having a crown (cap) made. In most cases, the treatment is completed over two sessions, about two weeks apart.

During your first appointment, we’ll prep the supporting teeth that the bridge will be anchored onto. This includes trimming down the enamel so that there’s room for a restoration to slip on top of them. From there, we’ll take a detailed impression and place some temporary crowns over your teeth to prevent any sensitivity while the permanent bridge is being fabricated. We’ll send a model of your bite to our lab, as well as specifications regarding the exact colour and shade of porcelain to use, so that your bridge blends in with your smile.

When the permanent bridge returns from the lab, we’ll have you back to try it in and make any adjustments. If everything fits properly, we’ll permanently cement it into place at this visit. We recommend avoiding chewing on that side of your mouth for the rest of the day, to provide ample time for the bonding agents to set.

After getting a crown, be sure to brush and floss around it daily, as well as schedule routine scale and cleans every six months.

Should I Replace My Missing Tooth?

If your missing tooth isn’t visible when you smile, you may be wondering if it’s necessary to replace it with a bridge or implant. Although it may not seem like an initial aesthetic concern, tooth loss can lead to both cosmetic and functional dental complications.

When a tooth is removed, the ones around it gradually start to shift out of alignment. Opposing teeth may even “super-erupt” out of place without a biting partner. Over time, the tooth movement affects your entire smile, leading to crooked teeth and irregular biting patterns. As a result, issues like tooth wear, fractured restorations and even TMJ disorder can develop.

Replacing a missing tooth has as much to do with the function of your overall mouth as it does with your appearance and confidence.

Is a Bridge Right for Me?

Thinking about getting a Dental Bridge to replace your missing tooth? Contact us today to request an exam.

* Any surgical or invasive procedure carries risks. Before proceeding, you should seek a second opinion from an appropriately qualified health practitioner.

Dental Bridges in Sydney CBD, Park Street NSW | (02) 9264 5333