There are three main ways to replace a missing tooth; denture, bridge or implant.
Replacement of single teeth can be achieved by bridging the gap with a ‘bridge’.
The false tooth is permanently held in position, attached to the tooth next to it given an important functional and aesthetic result.
It is important to consider the replacement of a missing tooth after extraction to prevent adjacent and opposing teeth from tilting, rotating into the gap.
Bridges are usually made of precious metals or porcelain. Your dentist can assess if a bridge is suitable for you although there are numerous factors they will need to take into consideration.
A bridge uses considerable skill of the dentist and technician and is considered a complex but routine dental procedure.
Q Why should I replace missing teeth?
A Your appearance is one reason. Another is that the gap left by a missing tooth can mean greater strain on the teeth at either side. A gap can also mean your ‘bite’ is affected, because the teeth next to the space can lean into the gap and alter the way the upper and lower teeth bite together. This can then lead to food getting packed into the gap, which causes both decay and gum disease.
Q How are missing teeth replaced?
A This depends on the number of teeth missing and the condition of the adjacent teeth. Missing teeth can be replaced by a denture (false teeth) which you take out each night, a bridge which is fixed into position or implants that are integrated with the bone
Q Can I always have a bridge to replace missing teeth?
A No. It depends on the number of teeth missing, the condition of the adjacent teeth and how well you clean your teeth.
Q What are bridges made of?
A Bridges are made of a variety of materials. They can be made of precious alloy metal and can be coated with porcelain to make them look like natural teeth. Metal free bridges can also be made of just porcelain or Zirconia.
Q Are bridges expensive?
A Although a bridge may seem expensive it will last for many years. It will improve your appearance, bite and stop damaging other teeth. A bridge uses the considerable skill of the dentist and technician, who work very closely to ensure a good fit. The cost is dependant on the complexity of the tooth preparation required, the aesthetics and the materials used.
QHow do I look after my bridge?
A You need to clean your bridge every day, to prevent problems such as bad breath and gum disease. You also have to clean under the false tooth every day. Your dentist or hygienist will show you how to use a bridge needle or special floss, as a normal toothbrush cannot reach.
Q Are there different types of bridge?
A Yes, there are different types of bridge which use different fixing methods. Your dentist will choose the most effective and conservative bridge for your personal situation.