BRIDGES (Usually require 3-5 days)
Teeth can fall out due to many reasons, trauma, accidents, disease and decay. Dental bridges are false teeth used to fill the gaps used to improve the look and the function of the teeth. Dental bridges also help prevent the problems created by a gap where a tooth used to be. Bridges safeguard the existing teeth from shifting. They are usually anchored to surrounding natural teeth so they are best for those who have only a few missing teeth.
Reasons for the fitting of a dental bridge:
• To fill the empty space where teeth used to be
• To improve speech
• To prevent decay, gum disease where the teeth used to be.
• To improve aesthetic appearance – your smile and the shape of your face
• To improve bite when eating and diminish stress on remaining teeth.
There are 3 different types of bridges and the condition of a patients existing teeth will largely determine the sort of bridge that will suit them:
1.Traditional fixed bridges – the most popular form of bridge is fixed in place and is permanent and works well for people with fillings as these can be used as the foundation for the crowns that are placed on the natural teeth. With this type of bridge a false (or pontic) tooth is anchored in the mouth with 2 crowns that are attached to the 2 natural teeth eithre side of the gap where the bridge will go. The natural teeth usually will need to be sculpted and reduced in size to make room for the crowns and bridge and then the crowns and false teeth are bonded together in one unit.
2.Bonded bridges (resin bonded bridges)
Less expensive than fixed bridges and are usually only suitable for those patients who hav healthy teeth surrounding the gap where the teeth are to be inserted. Bonded bridges are usually fitted by attaching metal bands or wings and resin cement to the two surrounding natural teeth but can only be used effectively when used in areas that aren’t stressed when eating e.g. to replace missing front teeth.
Used when a person usually has one rather than two natural teeth on the sides of the gap where the bridge will be fitted. The bridge will be adhered just on this one side therefore cannot be used in an area that may be stressed during eating e.g. the front teeth.
The surrounding teeth will be cleaned of plaque and decay under local anaesthetic and they will then be reduced in size in order for its anchor crowns to fit on them. The dentist will take an impression using dental putty from which the new customised tooth will be prepared. A temporary bridge will be fitted during the wait which can be a couple of days and then replaced with the permanent one. The dentist will then adjust the bridge for proper fit and bite and then permanently bond it into the mouth.
It is important to remember that the type of bridge needed will depend mainly on the condition of the surrounding teeth. After fitting the bridge must be cleaned and cared for diligently and healthy eating habits maintained in order for the bridge to endure its 10 – 15 years or possibly more.