What is a Dental Bridge?
A dental bridge is a way to replace a missing tooth or teeth. It is a fixed option for replacing the space (like an implant) meaning it stays permanently in your mouth. Dental bridges literally bridge the gap created by one or more missing teeth.
A lot of the information about crowns is very relevant here since the classic bridge is two crowns for the teeth either side, attached together via a fake tooth in the middle. Bridges do however, possess some additional considerations in the treatment planning phase: tooth preparation, the choice of material and how we care for them afterwards.
There are different designs and styles of bridges, but essentially they all use the teeth either side (or an implant) to hold a pontic (dentist speak for ‘dummy tooth’) in the gap to restore your smile and bite.
You may hear it sometimes referred to as a ‘fixed partial denture’ but I don’t feel this is a fair description personally. Denture suggests to me, something than can be taken in and out, so having a fixed one seems like an oxymoron.
How Long do Dental Bridges Last?
We would hope a bridge would last you 10-20 years.
Well-planned and executed bridges may last even longer, but there are many factors that will influence the success of your dental bridge and hence the length of time it lasts.
Factors such as:
- The quality of the supporting teeth
- The experience of the dentist and quality of their work
- The design of the bridge chosen
- The length of bridge- the more units and teeth involved, the more risk of something going wrong
- The types of material used
- The experience of the dental technician (lab). and quality of their work
- How well you look after it
- The forces you place upon it.
So a successful bridge relies on the correct diagnosis and choice of bridge, quality treatment and you!