- A bridge is used to replace a missing tooth or teeth by joining at least one tooth to another.
- The most common bridge joins two teeth to replace the tooth that is missing between them.
This is similar to a traffic bridge that joins two masses of land but instead of the land, there is a tooth on either side.
- Two unit bridges are also possible if the adjacent tooth is strong enough the support the missing tooth. This type of bridge is called a canter lever bridge.
- The bridge consists of the part holding the bridge (the abutment or abutments) and the false tooth or teeth (the pontic or pontics).
Why do I need a bridge ?
A bridge is used to replace a missing tooth for cosmetic reasons as well as functional (chewing and speech) reasons.
Can bridges cause problems?
If the bridge is joined at both ends, cleaning is more difficult and the use of floss threaders or special floss (e.g. Superfloss) is recommended. Poor cleaning can result in gum problems or decay which could ultimately lead to bridge failure.
Does the false tooth of the bridge sit on the gum?
This depends on the aesthetic area of the bridge. If the bridge is at the front of the mouth, the teeth are usually placed to touch the gums. If the bridge is at the back of the mouth, sometimes the false tooth is set above the gum to allow better cleaning.
Can bridges be placed between implants?
Bridges on implants are possible and often the implants are stronger than natural teeth.
When is a bridge not possible?
When the supporting teeth are not strong enough to support more teeth, a bridge is not advisable .
Do my teeth either side of the bridge get damaged?
Most bridges require preparation of the abutment teeth but there are some bridges where there is direct bonding to tooth structure (but this is limited by the bite).
Do bridges last forever?
Unfortunately bridges have a high potential for problems due to the added force applied to the supporting teeth as well as the increased potential for cleaning difficulties.
How many teeth can a bridge replace?
It has been documented that people have had two teeth supporting a total of 16 teeth but this is physically doomed to fail. The more teeth that are replaced, the more force is applied to the supporting teeth.
What is "All on 4"?
This is where the person has 4 implants supporting about 12 to 14 teeth. Implants are often much stronger than natural teeth and some implants in these special cases are deeply attached for increased support.
What are bridges made of?
They can be made of a precious metal (such as gold ), metal fused to porcelain or all ceramic. New technology is allowing the construction of bridges that can be metal free.