A dental bridge (fixed prosthesis) is used to fill in the gap left by one or more missing teeth by creating an artificial tooth for each tooth and anchoring them to either one tooth adjacent to the gap or the two teeth either side of the gap.
To replace missing teeth in order to:
Restore your smile
Improve your ability to properly chew and speak
Maintain the shape of your face
Improve the distribution forces forces in your bite properly
Prevent remaining teeth from drifting out of position
There are three primary types of dental bridges:
1. The Classical bridge involves the suspension of false teeth between two crowns fitted on the two teeth either side of the gap. This is the strongest type of bridge but also involves the greatest removal of tooth structure.
2. A Cantilever bridge has just one crown to support the false tooth.
3. A Maryland bridge consists of false teeth supported by two metal wings glued to the back of the two teeth either side of the gap. The use of metal wings can darken the appearances of the supporting teeth resulting in poor aesthetics. Maryland bridges are not as securely anchored as the other types of bridges.
Bridges can be be made from gold, precious metal, porcelain or a combination of these materials. The main advantage of a bridge when compared with dentures is that it is permanently fixed and will not move when speaking or eating. Unlike dentures it cannot be removed. Bridges can last ten to thirty years but this is dependent of proper maintenance and good oral hygiene.
The provision of a bridge may involve up to three visits. At the first visit the support teeth are prepared and impressions taken so that the laboratory can fabricate the bridge. At the remaining visits the bridge is checked for fit, shade match with the surrounding teeth and contact with the opposing teeth.