Once it has been fitted the bridge does not need to be removed from the mouth each day, unlike a denture.
There are two main types of bridges:
- Fixed bridges – the tooth or teeth adjacent to the missing tooth are reduced down in size (similar to the process for making a crown for a tooth) and a bridge can then be custom made to fit over the prepared teeth with an artificial tooth crown filling the space.
- Adhesive bridges – (sometimes called Maryland or Resin bonded bridges) an artificial tooth crown can be custom made to replace the missing tooth with a metal wing attached to it that can be bonded on to the tooth adjacent to the space. The advantage over fixed bridgework is that little or no tooth has to be cut back to allow space for the bridgework.
Why do I need a bridge?
Your dentist may recommend a bridge if you’re missing one or more teeth and would like a fixed replacement.
It may be that replacing the missing tooth/teeth will improve your ability to chew.
It maybe that you are unhappy with the appearance of the gap where your tooth is missing and a bridge could give a natural appearance.
What is a bridge made of?
Bridges can be made out of either a combination of metal with tooth coloured porcelain layered over the top, or metal free bridges made entirely of tooth coloured ceramic are now possible in certain situations.
Your dentist will advise you on the options available to you.
What happens when I have a bridge?
All of our bridges are custom made for each individual case by a highly skilled dental technician to ensure an excellent fit and appearance.
Your dentist will discuss the treatment options with you, checking that you understand the procedure and answering any questions you may have.
Usually we will need an up to date X-ray of your tooth/teeth to check that the roots are healthy and the foundations strong before commencing on the process of preparing your tooth/teeth for a bridge.
Your dentist will carefully shape your tooth to allow space for the bridge (usually done under local anaesthetic in the case of a fixed bridge).
We will then take impressions of your teeth, choose a shade for your bridge to match your existing teeth and provide you with a temporary bridge, if necessary, to cover the prepared tooth/teeth.
Your dentist will remove the temporary bridge and fit your new bridge.
Your dentist will ensure a good fit and appearance of the new bridge, then cement or bond it into place using the appropriate material for your bridge to ensure it lasts well.
We will also give you advice on how best to care for your bridge over the years to come.
Sometimes other steps are involved such as ‘mock ups’ of the anticipated finished bridge (known as wax ups). These will help you visualise the prospective appearance and check it is what you are hoping to achieve. This will be discussed with you by your dentist if this is advised.
How long will my bridge last?
Studies show that bridges tend to last around 10 years, although some can last longer.
There are a wide variety of factors that influence this, including:
- the strength of the underlying tooth
- the health of the nerve within the tooth
- the position of the tooth within the mouth
- how much stress and strain a particular bridge is put under
- how well the bridge is looked after
Are there any risks to having a bridge?
We will always take steps to carefully plan your treatment to try and achieve the best possible long term outcome, however there can be complications outside our control even with the best possible planning and treatment:
- Nerve damage: Research shows that in approximately 20% of teeth that are prepared for fixed bridges the nerve can die off at some stage in the future and the tooth require either root canal treatment or extraction.
- Chips and cracks: The porcelain on bridges can chip or crack over time and this usually results in the need to have the crown replaced.
- Detached bridge: Adhesive bridges can de-bond and come loose and require re-bonding into place or possibly replacement if they become distorted.
- Receding gums: Gums can recede over time and this can make the joining line between the bridge and the tooth more visible. This can be a cosmetic problem and require replacement of bridges.
If you are concerned about any of these risks or have questions about your treatment, your dentist will be happy to discuss these in more detail to ensure you are 100% comfortable.
How much does a bridge cost?
The cost of your bridge will vary depending on the tooth, materials used and the expected time required to perform the treatment.
Your dentist will advise you of this at the time of booking and provide you with a written estimate.
- Fixed porcelain/metal bridges start from £300 per tooth
- Fixed all ceramic bridges start from £400 per tooth
- Adhesive bridges start from £500
The cost of bridges are included in the Complete Care Plans however patients will be required to pay a contribution to cover technician costs involved in having their bridges made.
For full pricing details, download our latest Price Guide