What is a bridge?

There are different ways to replace teeth. There are three main ways to replace teeth: dentures, bridges or implants. Replacing missing teeth can help to improve your appearance and help you to eat and smile with confidence. A bridge is fixed (using dental cement) to one or both of the teeth either side of a gap in your smile and these teeth are joined together by a false tooth which “bridges” the space. The bridge may be attached to the tooth either side of the gap by crowns or by wings that are cemented to the back of the supporting teeth. Unlike a denture a bridge is fixed and does not need to be taken out of the mouth to be cleaned.

Why would I choose to have a bridge?

A bridge is sometimes an appropriate option when only a few teeth need replacing. In order to have a bridge, the natural teeth either side of the missing one are healthy enough to support a false tooth in the space. A bridge can provide a good appearance and restore your confidence in your smile.

How long do I need to wait for a bridge after tooth removal?

If you have had a tooth removed, then you will need to leave a period of up to 3 to 6 months for the gum to heal before placing a bridge. The reason is that after a tooth has been removed the gum shrinks and can leave a space between the gum and the final bridge that may compromise the appearance. If you wish to have a replacement after a tooth has been removed your dentist will discuss the options of a denture or a temporary bridge with you.

What types of bridge are available?

There are two types of bridges:

  1. A “sticky” (adhesive) bridge
  2. A fixed (conventional) bridge

A “sticky” bridge has a small wing which is cemented to the back of your natural tooth to support a false tooth in the gap. This type of bridge hardly involves any drilling at all. It is only suitable where the tooth next door to the space is healthy and has not had big fillings already.

A fixed bridge has a crown on one or both of the teeth either side of the space which are joined together by a false tooth which spans the gap. A tooth is prepared for a fixed by reducing outer top and sides and leaving a strong inner core. This process makes space for the porcelain or precious metal material to cover the tooth. The end result will restore the natural shape of the tooth. Fixed bridges cover the whole tooth and the gap. Bridges can be made of tooth coloured porcelain material and / or precious metal with a porcelain coating.

How long does the procedure take?

The preparation of the teeth involves at least two to three appointments. The first appoint is needed to prepare outer layer of the tooth and to take a mould of your teeth. In between appointments a temporary bridge is made to cover the teeth whilst the dental laboratory produce the final bridge. At the second appointment the bridge is adhered to the teeth to give a long-lasting result.

What are the alternative options?

In some cases, a denture or dental implants may be the most appropriate option where there are several teeth missing or where your natural teeth are not healthy enough to support a bridge.

How much do bridges cost?

The cost for bridges depends on the number of missing teeth required  and the material used to make them. For further information on the cost of bridges, please refer to our price list.