There Are Three Main Ways To Replace Missing Teeth:
- Removable Partial Dentures
Bridges are used to fill a gap and restore function or aesthetics where a tooth or teeth have been lost. In this example a three unit bridge is being used to replace a missing tooth by using the teeth either side (abutment teeth) to support the bridge.
They are usually made from a metal base that is coated in dental porcelain to make it look like a natural tooth.
What Is Involved In Having A Bridge Made?
A bridge is custom made to fit into the gap and over the adjacent teeth by skilled dental technicians working in a dental laboratory. In order for the technician to make the bridge the adjacent teeth or tooth must first be prepared by the dentist in the following stages;
- Reduction & shaping of the teeth to create a ‘core’ with an even space for the abutments of the bridge to fit over.
- Taking of an impression of the prepared teeth.
- Taking of an impression of the opposite arch to allow the laboratory to see how you bite together.
- The shade of teeth will be recorded to allow the technician to match the bridge to your existing teeth.
The impressions are then sent to the dental laboratory where the impressions are cast using a dental stone which produces an exact replica of your teeth, including the prepared teeth.
How Long Does It Take?
To prepare and fit a bridge usually takes two visits;
One visit to prepare the teeth, make the impressions & record the shade and one visit to fit the permanent bridge. Tooth preparation for bridge work depends upon the number of teeth involved, between 45 & 90 minutes.
Will It Feel Different?
As you have had a space where a tooth/teeth have been missing it may feel very strange at first having a bridge filling this space. Over the first week this strange feeling should go away as you get used to having a bridge in the space. The bridge should not feel high or uncomfortable, if you are in any doubt please ask one of the dentists.
How Long Will The Bridge Last?
A bridge should last for many years but this depends on how well the bridge is looked after once it is fitted. Although the bridge will not decay the area where the bridge meets the teeth that support it can begin to decay. Particular attention to this area must therefore be paid to this area when cleaning you teeth.
Bridges are usually made of a precious metal base. If the bridge will show, porcelain is then bonded to the base. Sometimes, there are other non-precious metals used in the base to reduce the cost.
Your appearance is obviously one important consideration. Another is that the gap left by a missing tooth can cause a 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.
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. We will show you how to use a bridge needle or special floss, as a normal toothbrush cannot reach.
There are other options, such as using a combination of crowns and partial dentures. You could also consider dental implants. We will discuss the relevant options with you at your consultation.
Yes, if you have enough strong teeth with good bone support.
This depends on the number of teeth missing and on where they are in the mouth. The condition of the other teeth also affects the decision. There are two main ways to replace the missing teeth. This first is with a removable false tooth or teeth – a partial denture. The second is with a fixed bridge. A bridge is usually used where there are fewer teeth to replace, or when the missing teeth are only on one side of the mouth.
In many people it can take up to 6 months for the gums to hesal properly after an extraction. This means that you may need to have a temporary denture for 6 months before the bridge is fitted.
Bridges are only possible if you have enough strng teeth with good bone support. Your dentist will help you decide which is the best way of replacing missing teeth.
Costs will vary according to the size and type of bridge you need. Always get a written estimate and treatment plan before beginning any dental treatment. Although a bridge may seem expensive it should last many years.
Yes, by having implants. The success of this technique means you may be able to replace missing teeth without crowning other teeth. Find out more by visiting our Implants webpage.