What are they?
A dental bridge replaces a missing tooth or teeth by using the teeth either side of the gap as anchors. Patients lose teeth for a variety of reasons including decay, gum disease and trauma, for example being hit in the mouth while playing sport.
What does treatment involve?
A full examination, including x-rays, is needed to assess the health of the teeth either side of the gap. Following a local anaesthetic, the teeth are drilled down and an impression is taken. Approximately 10 days later, the bridge can be fitted. Between the preparation and final restoration, a temporary bridge can be placed for comfort and cosmetics.
How long do bridges last?
It depends on how well you look after them and also on the type of bridge: the generally quoted average is 10 years for ‘normal’ bridges and 7 years for ‘sticky’ bridges. However, there was an article in the British Dental Journal describing a bridge lasting 40 years.
Are there any alternatives?
Bridges are not the first choice if the teeth either side of the gap are completely healthy, as is usually the case after trauma. As dentists, we are always reluctant to remove enamel from healthy teeth, simply to fit a bridge. The main alternatives are dental implants or dentures.
Are there any downsides?
Extensive, irreversible tooth removal either side of the gap, but remember – it’s usually the damage to these teeth that dictates the choice of a bridge in the first place. Trauma to any tooth, including removing the tooth surface to fit a bridge, may cause the tooth nerve to die, necessitating a subsequent root treatment, although this can be performed through the bridge.
How much do Bridges cost?
Please refer to our Price List for details.