Dental bridges are used to fill gaps where a tooth or teeth are missing. A bridge will improve the look and function of the teeth. Dental bridges are most successful where people have only a few missing teeth. This is because they are inserted and anchored to the surrounding natural teeth.
Teeth are missing for numerous reasons including disease, decay and physical trauma. A bridge can be inserted to reconstruct a person's smile and to restore the natural function of the mouth.
When a tooth is lost it is common for the surrounding teeth to shift to fill the empty space. When teeth are missing there is often a change in function of a person's ability to chew food. There is also the change in a person's appearance leading to a lowering of self esteem.
In severe cases tooth loss can lead to a collapsed bite and jaw problems. Luckily dental bridges can help prevent these problems by filling in the vacant space that is left when the natural tooth is lost.
The teeth either side of the gap are prepared for crowns. The two crowns and the additional false tooth are constructed by the laboratory. The finished bridge is presented as one entire piece, but it is made to look like three separate teeth. The bridge is then cemented and permanently bonded in place making it very secure. It is designed to visually blend with the appearance of the natural teeth and should be undetectable.
This type of bridge is suitable in areas where teeth on either side of the gap have been filled and would benefit from the placement with crowns. However if the teeth beside the gap are unfilled it might be better to explore other options, such as implants, to avoid having to cut the otherwise perfect teeth.
A dental bridge has a lifespan of approximately 10-15 years though this can depend on a number of different factors.