A bridge is used to replace missing teeth. Bridges use neighboring teeth as anchors. A crown is placed on both adjacent teeth and a false tooth is attached in the middle.
Dental bridges are used when the patient has only one or two missing teeth. When more teeth are missing, a denture will be recommended.
Porcelain bridges are beautiful and natural looking. Porcelain is used inside and outside to eliminate the dark line at the edge of the gum, that shows when you have metal based bridges. The porcelain maintains a translucency that makes it hard to tell from a natural teeth.
It takes only two to three appointments to place a bridge:
- First appointment: the doctor prepares the teeth adjacent to the missing tooth. A temporary bridge is placed.
- Second appointment: an impression of the teeth is taken and sent to a laboratory for the fabrication of the bridge. When the bridge comes from the lab, it is bonded to your teeth to give your smile its natural look.
When used for posterior teeth and to lower the cost of the bridge other materials can be used.
The life expectancy of a bridge is seven years. This means that a person who is in his or her 40’s, will have to replace his or her bridge at least five times during his lifetime.
An alternative treatment for dental bridges are dental implants. Dental Implants are small titanium cylinders treated and coated with substances that aid in the initial attraction of bone forming cells. They are surgically used to replace the roots of missing teeth. Once a dental implant is placed and restored it will not need any more restoration.
Bridges have some short term advantages over dental implants. They can be delivered faster, require no surgery, and have an initial lower cost.